Beijing-based studio WEI Architects renovated an abandoned building in China’s remote Fujian province into a beautiful guest home using traditional materials and construction techniques. The architects breathed new life into the Springingstream Guesthouse by installing reclaimed materials and creating a series of undulating roofs that mimic the outline of the mountainous landscape.
The guest home is located in a remote valley that has been abandoned over the years. Although the majority of the homes in the area are derelict, there is a new movement to preserve the history of the area. WEI Architects were commissioned to develop a project that could serve as a prototype for restoring the existing properties in an attempt to revitalize the village. The project was even part of a national TV program, which drew a lot of attention to the efforts.
The existing structure was an old home that had been abandoned for years. The architects worked carefully to bring it back to life while retaining as much as the existing structure as possible. The home’s old timber panels and various materials were used in the new structure, while stone bases and other materials were locally-sourced. Local labor was also used to restore the old building using traditional methods. “Local villagers with building techniques were hired to ensure the traditional construction methods, like the mortise-and-tenon structure and special transformational window-door framing,” said the architects.
The architects were also inspired by the local scenery, which they used as a guide to create a serene atmosphere. The home is located on the banks of a stream that cuts through the mountainous landscape, and its undulating roof mimics its stunningly beautiful backdrop. Additionally, the undulating roof juts out over the structure, creating covered verandahs for the main home, as well as for a guest home that was erected on the site of the former sheep pens. Landscaping made of local plants and stones creates a rustic walking path that connects the two structures.
The completed building will serve as a bed and breakfast that generates income for the community. Accordingly, the interior design blends tradition with modern comforts for visiting guests. The interior layout follows the local tradition of arranging the rooms around a central hearth. Exposed brick and traditional furniture also pay homage to the home’s history.
Although seeped in tradition, the renovated guest home does have a few modern touches. A copper path set within the poured concrete flooring runs from the entrance to a lounge space and then a covered outdoor terrace that serves as the tea room. The second floor of the structure houses two bedrooms that feature large windows with movable wooden panels that provide natural ventilation and stunning views of the scenery.
Images via WEI Architects