A Beijing house searches for a stronger relationship with nature

TAOA’s design undermines the standardised spatial structure of a detached house thanks to a new enclosure, which weaves its way through the entire site.

TAOA, The house of Tao Lei, Beijing, China, 2016

An ordinary single-family house, part of a uniform row in the outskirts of Beijing, is a compact volume, standing approximately in the centre of its plot and surrounded by its own little garden. The design by local firm TAOA, commissioned to extend the house, as well as to add an artist’s and an architect’s atelier, radically modifies this layout.

A new enclosure made of a sequence of partitions, ramps, walkways and canopies, makes its way through the site and builds unusual relationships between the architectural blocks and the voids. 

Cozy wooden decks, covered but open-air, function as filter spaces leading from the interiors to the outside. They line the multiple patios produced by the fragmentation of the original courtyard. A comprehensive system of paths allows the visitor to explore the entire complex, from the basement to the ground level gardens and up to the terraces on the first floor.

According to TAOA’s designers, the unequivocal and strong boundary between the building and its context is aimed at the former’s “independence”, rather than at its isolation. In fact, precisely as it is explicitly segregated from its surroundings, the lot is transformed into a different place, other than the city itself, where mineral and vegetal materials can be combined freely and sensibly. That’s how the building becomes “no longer a device separating its inhabitants from nature”, but rather a peaceful space of reunion between mankind and its environment.

TAOA, The house of Tao Lei, Beijing, China, 2016
TAOA, The house of Tao Lei, Beijing, China, 2016
The house of Tao Lei
house, atelier
Beijing, China
Project manager:
Tao Lei
Design team:
Chen Zhen, Li JIng, Zhang Jinghong
600 sqm

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