Blending the man-made into nature without doing harm is difficult, but Origin Architects have managed to embed a series of modern villas into the foot of China’s Eurasia-Changbai Mountain range while simultaneously restoring a large part of an adjacent felled forest. By conducting detailed studies into the area’s natural flora and fauna, the architects were able to build the villas as part of an ecological restoration that will serve to preserve the natural state of the area for years to come.
Ajacent to the building area, an old amusement park has been abandoned for years. As they began the clean up process, the team did extensive studies on the entire site, investigating the entire river valley ecosystem in the process. According to the architects, they mapped and measured each primeval tree and exposed stone in the area to create a guide to preserving the natural state of the forest. As they started on the ecological restoration project, the work helped to create the villas in a way that would reduce the structures’ carbon footprint.
The architects explain, “We removed construction waste, restored landforms and rainwater channels according to the vein, dredged choked rivers and cultivated vegetation to encourage ecological redevelopment of this area, so that the separated waste land could be embraced by nature again, and the vast primeval river valley forest could break down the barriers caused by urban development and extend citywards.”
In terms of creating little impact with the construction, the structures were lifted off the ground to reduce the project’s footprint. This feature was essential to the project because the area is thought to be a breeding ground for Chinese mergansers, an endangered bird. Thanks to lifting the building off the ground, these prehistoric creatures and other wild animals will be free to move and migrate freely in the area.
Visitors to the area will be able reconnect to nature thanks to the amazing environment, but also to the villa’s purposeful design. The outside of the cabins are quite rustic, but the interior design is a minimal and sophisticated as can be. Light wood panels cover the flooring, walls and ceilings and very little furnishings are found on the interior, putting the emphasis completely on the natural surroundings.
Photography by Xia Zh