The Firewood Garden in China adapts to the local environment


A modern building is in Anshi Village, Yibin, Sichuan Province, China, but it uses entirely traditional construction techniques to suit its surroundings. Mix Architecture created the Shanshui Firewood Garden with pierced wooden exterior walls and corrugated brickwork under generous roof overhangs. The house wraps around a reflecting pond which gives it a historical aspect but also sculptural and new.

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The Firewood Garden is located between a bamboo forest and a pond in the local village. The site is protected by the landscape, giving a feeling of a private temple. The designers say the building begins with a Sichuan dwelling and reflects holistic thinking about space, materials, size and experience.

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View showing the pond, the concrete footbridge that crosses it and the firewood building

Sichuan dwellings often use the structure of drilled wood, which designers believe is light and dexterous, simple in structure and full of wisdom. The exterior walls of the building are made from local materials, mostly white with bamboo weaving and earthen walls. Moreover, the lower part is mainly built of red sandstone on a masonry foundation.

A semicircular structure of the firewood garden

Sichuan dwellings also have a courtyard space, which here is the central outdoor space of the house. This particular building has been rearranged a bit from traditional Sichuan houses in that it has been laid out in a cross-shaped layout. There are private rooms, tea rooms, book bars, and logistics rooms, all interspersed with undulating sandstone brick walls. Additionally, the walls weave under the structure and create openings for each adjoining room to face the opposite direction. The way the structure is, creates a lot of privacy without blocking the rooms from the outside.

All firewood used as part of the building

Meanwhile, firewood is an important part of life in Anshi Village as it is a rural area. The Firewood Garden uses this theme to feature firewood of varying sizes hanging on the walls. Local mountain sandstone was machine cut into the shape of fish scales for use in this project. A blue tiled roof tops it all off, bringing the different materials together to show the history of this place while shaping those materials into new applications.

The designers say the interior courtyard appears to trace time like a sundial with light streaming through the layered and staggered materials throughout the day. It is a quiet, modern yet traditional house, and a lovely place to call home.

+ Mixed architecture

Images via Mixed Architecture


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