A modern building sits in the Anshi Village, Yibin, in Sichuan Province, China, but it is using entirely traditional building techniques to adapt to its environment. Mix Architecture created the Shanshui Firewood Garden with pierced wood exterior walls and undulating brick under generous roof overhangs. The house curls around a reflecting pool which gives it the look of something historical but also sculptural and new.

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Ground level view of the building

The Firewood Garden is located between a bamboo forest and a pond in the local village. The site is shielded by the landscape, giving a private temple-like feeling. The designers say that the building starts with a Sichuan dwelling and reflects the overall thinking on space, material, size and experience.

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View showing the pond, concrete walkway across it, and the firewood building

Sichuan dwellings often use the structure of pierced wood, which the designers say 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 mud walls. Additionally, the lower part is mostly built with red sandstone on a masonry foundation.

A semi-circle structure of the firewood garden

Sichuan dwellings also have a courtyard space, which features heavily here as the core outdoor space of the home. This particular building has been reordered a bit from traditional Sichuan homes in that it has been arranged in a cross-shaped layout. There are private rooms, tea rooms, book bars, and rooms for logistics all interspersed between undulating sandstone brick walls. Further, the walls weave under the structure and create openings for each adjoining room to face the opposite direction. The way the structure is, it creates a lot of privacy without blocking the rooms from the outdoors.

All the firewood used as a part of the building

Meanwhile, firewood is a major part of life in Anshi Village as it is a rural area. The Firewood Garden makes use of this theme to feature firewood of various sizes hanging on walls. Sandstone from the local mountains was machine cut in the shape of fish scales for use in this project. A blue tile roof tops it all off, bringing the various materials together to show the history of this place while shaping these materials into new applications.

The designers say the inner courtyard gives the impression of tracing time like a sundial with light passing through the overlapping and staggered materials through the day. It is a quiet home, modern while traditional, and a beautiful place to call home.

+ Mix Architecture

Images via Mix Architecture