chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china for 'house of steps' renovation
 

chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china for 'house of steps' renovation

in a village 70 kilometers from beijing, chaoffice has completed the renovation an existing building to form a new home for a young couple. set amid a mountainous backdrop, house of steps was conceived of not as a series of rooms, but as a single landscape for the residents to inhabit. 

house of steps by chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china designboom

view of the house from the village street

all images courtesy of chaoffice

 

 

the building was previously the home of the client’s parents, however, after many years the structure had been left to ruin. located at almost the highest point of the village, the project by chaoffice was inspired by a legendary castle that is said to have stood above it. surrounded by small, grey-colored hutongs, the recent renovation aims not to challenge the existing architecture, but instead blend into the context.

house of steps by chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china designboom

the east elevation viewed from the street

 

 

for the renovation, the boundary between indoor and outdoor, as well as the distinction between rooms, is ignored. the entire site is instead transformed into a grand platform: an open, shared space. a hutong lies to the north side and there is an open view to the south. parts of the platform rise up and parts drop down according to the varying heights of the neighbor’s home to the south, creating a sort of ‘platform upon platform’. with views on each corner of the site, the mountains themselves become a part of the building.

house of steps by chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china designboom

the path between the adjacent houses

 

 

variety in scale and shape help create distinct spaces, each providing its own feeling. some parts of the floor rise to create rooms underneath while some parts drop down to create a loft space on top. all of these additional spaces are meant for private use as bedrooms or bathrooms. the subtle height differences are linked together using steps, the larger of which transform into a table or chair. the final architecture intends to feel like nesting in a cave within the mountains, in contrast with the expansive views the site provides.

house of steps by chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china designboom

the main living room with a view of the mountains

 

 

the east end of the building contains a small sitting room under a loft bedroom. visitors can sit around two 300mm deep hollows both inside and outside, to enjoy a relaxing moment with company. the next section is a higher area that is large in scale and bright inside. the kitchen and dining room are both located here, as well as the main living room. the outer area is also a large space, and the landscape defining this section provides kitchen cupboards, tables, and sofas.

house of steps by chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china designboom

the yard in summer

 

 

the third section is the entrance area. as people enter the building, they have three separate routes to choose from; leading to either the lower bedrooms, outside to the garden, or to the main living space. the fourth section is not actually within the house itself, but sits on top of the lower bedrooms. the height under the ceiling is quite low and is not suitable to function as an indoor space, so it instead becomes a special outdoor space under the eaves. people can sit here as they watch the mountain view, drinking tea and playing games together. 

house of steps by chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china designboom

the house is formed with steps and platforms both inside and outside

 

 

visitors can arrive at their bedrooms via steps going both upwards and downwards from the public platform. watching the mountains from the loft bedroom window feels like looking through a pair of binoculars.

house of steps by chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china designboom

the sitting room

house of steps by chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china designboom

the small sitting room and connected outdoor space

house of steps by chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china designboom

entrance lobby

chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china for 'house of steps' renovation

the kitchen countertop

chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china for 'house of steps' renovation

the rooftop view

chaoffice frames the mountainous landscape of china for 'house of steps' renovation

picture window in the loft bedroom

 

 

project info:

 

project name: house of steps – dayou 101

location: taihang mountains, china

architect: chaoffice

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lynne myers | designboom

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