One Room One Garden / Scale Forest Atelier
100 square meters
Manufacturers: Harmel House, Parador, Rossel
Jia Gu, Shan Zhong
Written Statement by Architects. The condo is located in a high-rise residential building along the Qinwei River in Nanjing, and the Millennium Stone City Wall is located to the north. As they approach retirement, the owner couple want to convert their existing standard three-bed flat into a retirement home. The design deliberately opens closed rooms and turns the three-room layout into one bedroom or we can also call it: one garden. The original linear circulation reorganizes into a turbulent circulation that makes one stroll through the garden. Walking through the corridors with various functions changes the view of the frames of both the interior and exterior windows and continuously enriches the view. It has the same spatial experience as living and moving in a Chinese garden. In the post-pandemic period, people spend more time at home, pleasant living spaces have never been more important than today.
We’ve created a series of activities to meet owners’ living habits and emotional needs, bringing some fresh experiences into their retirement lifestyle. In the garden-like multipurpose living room, one can play somatosensory games or plant. Go to the book alley, one can spend some quality reading time here. One can also have a relaxing foot bath in front of the North Bay window and enjoy the scenery of the Kinwai River. The center of the house revolves around the dining table and the dining area, which makes it easy for the owners to meet with family and friends. The living room in front of the entrance is a space with different activities and a transition from the outside to the inside. It has the same sense of space as the front yard of a traditional single-family home. Living room design is a reinterpretation of landscape elements such as terraces, stones, fences and pergolas. It matches the dramatic difference in height from the first apartment, creates a landscape setting, and enhances the feeling of an outdoor courtyard.
As the boundary of the living room, the back of the sofa is designed to be as simple as the boundary of the outer courtyard – “Liba”. The wooden ring of the back adopts the cold-folded veneer technique. The production allows us to prepare a rigid structure that can be supported without a heavy appearance. Liba backrest is extremely light and easy to adjust position, which is suitable for different usage situations. There is no furniture in the center of the living room, leaving a spacious and flexible space for residents to practice yoga, somatosensory games and other activities. Wooden furniture creates quiet and warm spaces for dining, reading and entertaining. The depth of the apartment in the diagonal direction. Each location has a sense of nesting stages of development. The wooden corridor marks the entrance to a series of entertainment areas and also the transition between the quiet bedroom and the more active areas. The wooden ceiling uses the condominium’s original tile to present the oak wood look in a new way.
The two south-facing bedrooms in the main condo have been combined into one master bedroom in the new design. This allows 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily through the bay windows into the master bedroom. The owner requested 2 separate beds with adjustable back seats to avoid sleep interference. We combined single beds with space in between to create an intimate and interference-free double bed. Curtains are used in the closet to replace cabinet doors. By opening the curtain, one can choose clothes in an open way; Closing the curtain, the sleeping area has an additional room of tranquility.
Entering the book entrance through the wooden portal, one immediately entered a quiet place surrounded by books. Surrounding windows, short walls and narrow doorways allow the bookshelf to connect naturally with other spaces. The book trail allows crossing the condo’s north-south sight line. One can look through the bedroom window and see the table, the green sitting area and the farthest away – the scenery outside the window. People can pause here, pick some books or look at photo albums, read and rest in this peaceful corner.
The north bay window has the best view of the entire condominium. We expanded the bay window into a uniquely shaped sitting room, lowered the ceiling, and made an intimate lounge area. The owner can sit by the window and enjoy the beautiful view outside. The empty space between the seats can be boarded up to make a full bed, and the sliding doors can be pulled out to make the space comfortable for guests. Below the sitting area is a stone bathtub, so the owners can enjoy the riverside scenery while having a relaxing footbath. The north side of the apartment has a wonderful view of Nanjing Qinhuai River, Stone City Wall and TV. Tower. Before the renovation, the walls of the guest room, guest bathroom and kitchen area on the north side completely blocked the view and light from entering the public areas of the apartment. The new design breaks down the closed separate small rooms and creates an open and integrated space with the combination of short walls and doors. When the doors are closed, each space maintains independent functions; When the doors are open, the best view from the north comes into the apartment.
The owners’ daily washing and showering mainly takes place in the master bathroom, so we designed the guest bathroom as a recreational garden path, where one can wash hands, water flowers and guests can enjoy the view of the Kinwai River. A stainless steel tub meets its function with a clean shape, creating a simple and clean window area. Someone can enjoy watching your breath while you pass the toilet. The wall of the shower area continues the wooden look using waterproof birch wood. The floor tiles are recycled from the condo, and are planed, polished and covered with waterproof wax. The ridges on the back of the floor tiles provide a perfect anti-slip function. The guest bathroom offers a warm wooden feel while showering and a breath taking look out the window.
Social activities such as children’s visits and gatherings of family friends mainly take place at the dining table. After retirement, the owner spends more leisure time cooking. Therefore, the dining table becomes the center of family activities, and is also the physical center of the condo. A stainless steel table surface has a cold metal feel which contrasts with the warm wood material. The table is fixed with an I-beam fixed between two walls. Together with the mounted cabinets, they form an impenetrable canyon-like edge in the kitchen and dining area.
Recycled plank flooring
The condo’s old plank flooring was reused to become part of the new home. The flooring is a type of African oak wood and is covered with sealant. After more than 20 years of use, the printing ink on the surface is dull and scratched. After we planed, sanded and waxed the planks, we discovered they had very rich and unique patterns. We improved the appearance and installation of these floors and did a wooden portal ceiling, guest bathroom floor, master bedroom window frame and some home decor.