‘stangers’ – room with a rejected view is wutopia lab’s latest creation for fortune art homestay in xiyaotou village, china. in this countryside guesthouse, the architect identified himself as a stranger in the village and expressed a simple and direct gesture of how to understand or change the local landscape or activate local life as a stranger.

the strangers by wutopia lab 1
all images courtesy of creatAR images 



wutopia lab’s main inspiration for this project came from magritte’s surrealist painting ‘le calcul mental’, a painting of a village and white geometrical shapes. the architect was also inspired by former dwellings in xiyaotou village. everything in this area was surrounded by continuous walls so the design is just a reinforcement of this traditional type in this site. the walls were raised to 7 meters to create an image of complete independence. its purpose is to create a place that helps strangers look inside as well as create a warm living experience in winter and a cool living experience in summer with minimal use of electricity in terms of warmth and shade.

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in this guesthouse, each room is a separate building with no corridor connection. walking out of the room, the person becomes outdoors, which is typical in china’s courtyards. from this perspective, the architect redesigned the traditional building type and reassembled it. a previously existing firepit in the center of the courtyard had to be eliminated because of the building code in china.

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the interior is very simple and silent, designed to resemble a sanctuary and self-exile. all kinds of small arrangements to please people were eliminated, including the clock. this is a place to re-experience time, as the occupant can only estimate the approximate time by the change of natural light. moreover, the original site was empty, except for a broken wall and a courtyard gate which the architect decided to keep. this decision is also related to environmental protection by reducing transporting construction waste.

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project info:


name: the strangers by wutopia lab

designer: wutopia lab

chief architect: yu ting

project architect: mu zhilin

design team: shi difan (intern), mi kejie 

fortune art homestay master planner: zhu xudong, co-founder of e-house

photography: creatAR images

location: xiyaotou village, zhangjiakou city, hebei, china

 area: 225 sqm (2421.88 sqft)


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: yasmina karam | designboom