ZJJZ clads ellipsoidal guest houses in mirrored aluminum + pine shingles in rural China

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ZJJZ has built ‘the seeds’, a series of ellipsoidal holiday houses in rural China clad in mirrored aluminum and pine shingles.

Similar to ‘the mushroom’ – another guest house developed by the studio for Tree Wow Hotel – the project focuses on establishing a relationship between the structures and their surrounding environment. The four ‘seed’ dwellings are complete with several circular openings in different dimensions that immerse guests into the natural landscape of the area.

‘When this project began, the client wanted the buildings to be designed based on a form found in nature,’ says ZJJZ. ‘Instead of creating merely imitative forms, however, we focused on developing the spatial experience by staging views and establishing the relationship between the structures and their surrounding environment.’ Each of the four ‘seeds’ houses forms a continuous, ellipsoidal surface, wrapped in a façade that blends mirrored aluminum with pine shingles.

The mirrored aluminum, which clads the bottom part of each structure, reflects the surrounding environment, the changing weather and seasons. ‘This metal surface takes on the luster of red soil in winter, green plants in spring and summer, mist when wet, and sunshine on bright days,’ notes the Shanghai-based studio. Meanwhile, the pine shingles give the structures a warm, soft aesthetic that allows them to blend in with the surrounding trees.

The four holiday homes are designed with several circular openings that serve functional demands while creating internal sight lines towards various directions. A circular hole leads to the terrace at the front, which resembles a stone platform floating on independent foundations. A tree penetrates the terrace, providing shade, while a round window on the side of the building faces sparse woods. A larger round window in the attic reveals the sky and the branches of tall trees.

ZJJZ has clad the interior of each ‘seed’ house with wood panels that form a stripped pattern. This pattern naturally occurs by the color differentiation of the wood, further emphasizing the ellipsoidal form. The area behind the master bedroom contains the entrance, the bathroom, and room for storage, while the attic provides additional space for children. The attic and the ground level are connected by an elliptical staircase that intersects the entryway to form an intriguing, carved-out space.

Project info:

Name: the seeds – wood houses in Jiangxi, China

Architect: ZJJZ

Location: Jiangxi, China

Gross built area: 60 sqm each

Lead architect: Yuying Kate Tsai, Xuanru Chen, Sean Shen

Client: Tree Wow

Contractor: HXP planung GmbH

Structure consultant: XIE technologies

Completion year: 2020

ZJJZ clads ellipsoidal guest houses in mirrored aluminum + pine shingles in rural China