Gaoqiao village located in the west of Mount Emei Scenic Area is 40 minutes’ drive to the urban area. Villagers here cultivated farmlands for generations. Owing to unique spring water and fertile land resources, the village is famous for rice and grass. With the expansion of the city and the development of tourism, it breathes life into the peaceful village. Houses have sprung up all over the rice fields with respect for natural aesthetics.
Along the terrain and mountain roads, a cross-season journey has created. Three buildings are scattered in the green fields silently, closing to villages, rice fields, and mountain springs. They are the “residence center” at the foot of the mountain, “field canteen” in the countryside, as well as the “coffee house” on the terraces. Despite different functions, the three buildings have the same spiritual core. That is, sharing life, perceiving nature, and delivering happiness.
The residence center is like a “rural hall”, receiving guests from afar. The materials and furniture adopt earth tones, simple and unadorned. The dull mood of urban tourists is swept away suddenly. After eliminating travel fatigues, they are happy and relaxed. The journey begins here.
Walking along the path to the Northwest for more than 10 minutes, a vineyard comes into view. It is not far from the “field canteen”. The drizzle on the country road creates a refreshing scene of green rice fields and bright roof tiles. After passing the fish pond, wooden bridge, terraces, fruit forest, and simple huts, the field canteen is in the rice fields ahead.
The canteen is built on a foundation. The extremely short construction period and design concept of “regenerating former appearance” pose challenges to the team. Selecting building materials and local woodworking technology has become the breakthrough point of space construction.
By the time of arrival, the early morning mist has cleared and the green tiles and white walls surrounded by rice fields, tea garden, mountains come into sight bit by bit. The rice field beside the path makes the footsteps lighter. Everything is peaceful and quiet, staying away from noisy environment. With the fragrance of flowers and tea, the whistling sounds of wind blowing through groves, and the cry of insects, it seems to be in the gap of time and space away from ordinary life. Toil goes with the mist, and the heart is completely opened.
The whole building, from the outer wall to the tables and chairs indoor, are plain without any emotion. The old and new materials and furniture completely are fallen into “oblivion” in the overall layout and fully connected with the natural landscape of the field through the window. Branches, leaves, and flowers for making flower arrangement are picked from the roadside of the field all the way. On closer scrutiny, it is simple and strong visual impact.
Reading, tea tasting, and chatting indoors in the afternoon, it feels like roaming in the fields and woodlands.
The concepts of "combination of new and old" and "right place construction" are applied to space design and material selection. During the visits in the early stage of the project, Super Normal noticed that many local houses under renovation or demolition were originally made of wooden materials. After chasing the source, many old timbers that will be used as firewood have been "saved" in the wood market.
Time and use traces make these old woods wetter and simpler. After simple grinding and polishing, they are made into plates or furniture in the building. Only through manuscripts or on-site "gestures" can we effectively communicate with local carpenters. Daily design drawings have played hardly any roles. After the communication mixed with dialect and the rough "drawings" drawn directly on the board, the furniture is completely presented consisting with the shape and texture of inner imagination.
It’s winter when I visit again. The grains have been harvested. After drying, the straws lay over the fields. Exposing to the sun and rain, they are transformed into organic matter and nutrients. As the seasons change, the energy of land and crops is converted, producing different variations of field scenes.
The village is always shrouded in mountain fog in winter. The sun rises much later than summer. When I arrived, villagers had already started working with a slightly light.
The "coffee house" is located on a slope, surrounded by large and small stones. The overall architectural layout conforms to the natural topography. The selected position is built on stilts with a stream flowing through the bottom. The ancient camphor trees and the houses echo each other. The original terrain, vegetation, cultivated land, and stones are preserved without change.
Along with the coffee house, there is an observation platform. Looking into the distance, Emei peak is in the West and the whole field is in the East. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, the architectural design is simple and plain. The materials are selected from recycled old wood, plain wall panels and bamboo plaited articles, which are exactly the same as that of the canteen. Besides a necessary logistics space, the building adopts open exterior walls without boundary setting.
The building is elevated, and the ground becomes the "Fifth Elevation" of indoor space. The floor of the sunken sofa area is made of glass like the outer wall, and the stream flows slowly below it. Around midday, the fog lingers in the mountains. A vast expanse of whiteness stretches to infinity. Waiting sincerely, there are no indications that the fog will disperse, and the sky darkened slowly.
I came here with an expectation of viewing the scenery, but I had to stay indoors all day for the mountain fog. Because of this, some special "fog scenes" came into sight. It was getting colder in the evening. Lighting the fire in the house and staring at the fire in a daze, the time passed slowly.
Returning to the pure nature can bring inner peace and ordinary beauty. Perhaps, the genuine meaning of ordinary is implicated in the seemingly simple life.
Project name: Emei Mountain Gaoqiao Town Cultural Tourism Project
Project address: China·Sichuan·Gaoqiao Town
Business owner: Hengbang Shuanglin Group
Design unit: Super Ordinary Interior Designer Office
Design Director: Wu Minwen
Technical Director: Yang Jianxun
Project Manager: Zhong Mingmei
Design team: Yang Xiang, Li Min, Chen Tao, Xin Siying, Wu Liuchun
Soft decoration design: Li Ziyu Lin Ruiyu Liu Xiaolu
Lighting design: Mo Chao
Design main materials: recycled old wood, hand-made plaster, rammed earth plaster
Design time: 2020.07-2020.09
Implementation time: 2020.08-2020.11
Completion time: 2020.12
Photo Shadow: Folk Photography 12 and Space-Puyou Yang Xiang
Graphic production: Yang Xiang, Xin Siying, Ye Fangnan