Ninetree Village by David Chipperfield Architects



Here's a second project in China by David Chipperfield Architects: Ninetree Village is a recently completed residential development in Hangzhou.


The project is situated next to a bamboo forest and consists of twelve residential buildings, each containing five apartments.


Each building is clad in a wooden grid, which varies in density according to the level of privacy required in different areas of the home.


See our earlier story on Chipperfield's Liangzhu Culture Museum in China.

The following is from the architects:


Ninetree Village
Hangzhou, China
2004 – 2008

A small valley, bordered by a dense bamboo forest, forms the site for this luxury housing development, situated near the Qiang Tang River in Hangzhou, south-eastern China.


The particular charm and beauty of the place are the determining factors.


Twelve individual volumes are arranged in a chessboard pattern to create the maximum amount of open space for each building.


Through planting new vegetation, each apartment building is set in its own clearing in the forest.


The buildings adapt to the topography, creating a flowing landscape through a slight turning of the blocks.


The grounds will be accessed from the southern entrance via a network of lanes.


All buildings are linked to an underground car park, enabling the site to be free from vehicles above ground.


Within the development there are six types of building differing in size and floor plan depending on the location, view and light conditions.


The individual apartment buildings contain five generously proportioned apartments, each accommodating a full floor of approximately 400 sqm.


The floor plan concept creates a flowing interior space defined by solid elements which accommodate auxiliary functions.


The selection of materials for the living and sleeping areas provides an elegant, calm atmosphere, whilst the enclosed elements are envisaged as cabinets using precious traditional materials.


The loggia zone, which runs around the whole building, provides a transition area between the interior living space and the surrounding nature.


Based on a traditional principle of Chinese housing, an exterior skin using wooden elements protects the privacy of the residents.


This skin differs in density, depending on the interior functions, sunlight and the conditions of the site.


Moveable elements allow the resident to further decide on the degree of privacy desired.

All images above by Christian Richters. All images below by Shu He.


A clubhouse with an outdoor pool is located at the northern tip of the site.


This small building follows the irregular shape of the steep slope of the hill, forming a kind of a retaining wall that continues to define the border of the property.


The interior is shaped like a cave carved into the hill.


Skylights let natural light deep into the rooms.


In front of the clubhouse lies a raised platform with an irregular shape following the natural borders of the site.


The building is made out of coloured concrete and Chinese volcanic stone.


Location: Hangzhou, China
Project Date: 2004
Completion Date: 2008
Gross Floor Area: 23,500 m2
Client: Joyon Real Estate Investment Co., Ltd
Architect: David Chipperfield Architects
Principal: David Chipperfield
Director: Mark Randel
Project Architect: Hans Krause


Project Team: Christoph Bartscherer, Libin Chen, Ulrich Hannen, Christian Helfrich, Lijun Shen, Natalia Vinuela
Structural/Services Engineer: ZSADI, Zhejiang South Architectural Design and Survey Ltd.
Landscape Architect: Levin Monsigny Landschaftsarchitekten
Photographs: Christian Richters; Shu He

















Posted on Sunday November 9th 2008 at 6:49 pm by Matylda Krzykowski. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • kolohe

    i always get criticized for making my buildings ‘jail-like’ when i use vertical slats to this extent…

    • onurcantepe

      i have exactly the same problem

  • rodger

    not a particularly successful use of slate.
    i like the concrete work. but thats about it.

  • Hodgo

    this is a great building.

  • tiago

    one of the prettiest things i’ve seen for a long time here in dezeen.

  • roadkill

    a good metaphor for leaving in China nonetheless, imprisoned in a bamboo jail box -long leave minimal intelligent design… less is a bore!

  • freedom

    sooo chipperfieldean.

  • tommi

    i quite like d’ plans, think they work well

  • yimyim

    Kolohe, perhaps you are spot on? a critique of modern China?

  • cc

    plan looks interesting, but why do you block such beautiful view with these conventional grids that we almost see everywhere?

  • Sublime.

  • now_to

    It doesn’t matter.We put our birds into the metal cage.Now we can live in a jail made by wood and “rocks”.

  • REM

    voluntary prisoners of architecture

  • very clean and tidy…and probably does not cost a fortune to build.
    i like it

  • Sullka

    I guess I’m not crazy then, is some others noted the same as I did.

    I love CHipperfield, and I love vertical louvers, I always try ot use them, but in this project, the size and design of the louvers, and the material used (why not wood or bamboo?) just makes it look like a jail.

    Maybe Chipperfield did played a joke on them, something like ; “no matter how much money you have, how expensive your designer furniture is etc, you still live in a prison cell”

  • Luxury Larry

    I do like it just wish it wasn’t in China though!

  • I like this.. well thought.. sustainable. clean interiors..

  • spielberg


  • MCA

    subtle, serene, solid

  • enrique

    I also really like practically everything chipperfield does, i’m a big fan and i agree with most posts on how well the project works but i would have thought of designing the louvers differently. but then again, like someone else pointed out, maybe it was chipperfield’s intention all the way along to have bar-like louvers.
    i wonder if it was something that kept coming up in his workshop during the design process. haha.

  • Anne

    I don’t recall jails having full-height views. Maybe it is only in Africa that jails have tiny slithers with vertical bars.
    The vertical slats are amazing, and I doubt that it will remind anyone of a prison. At least kids won’t be able to climb up the slats and hurt themselves.

  • Rudolf

    The checkerboard layout adapted to the site contours works really well – especially the oblique views generated between the blocks. The grids with varied spacings add more to the scheme than it detracts from it (La Tourette comes to mind) – it does soften the elevations a lot.

  • Mason

    I think the plan for the apt is really interesting. It gives a free flowing space with blocks as division instead of normal partitions. It is much more interesting than some other a-list architects doing condos with weird shapes but with your run of the mill high end interior. The site plan works like blocks flowing on water. As for the slates, it looks elegant but I wonder isn’t it Baumschlager Eberle done it like 50 times already.

  • Very, very Chinese indeed! In the bamboo forest a wooden grid and… voilà the project!
    Some blocks that could bee everyewhere in the world.
    This is a golden jail and the architect is a prisoner of himself and of his brand, forced to be recognizable in every part of the world.

  • abena

    love the layout,free flowing. this is sustainable,corridors behind slats form a good break a vaccum of some sort. this should encourage some level of energy efficiency.
    whats the issue with african jails anyway,Anne,lets not be prejudiced!

  • Marcin

    is it exclusive chinese prison?

  • Diego

    So what, if it said if it was in Hokkaido would all your comments be any different? You would probably love it then.
    I bet you would all love to live in this so called prison if you only had the chance.
    Of course, I like it.

  • andrew

    I agreed with diego. surely all will love to stay there if there is a chance !The chance’s price tag is muti million of US Dollars though. The Chinese should be proud of able to deliver such a project ! Love to see more quality like this in China.

  • laura skeeters

    I found the residential typology is one of the best examples we have seen since Tony Garnier’s Cite Industrielle. And that was some time ago!

    It’ss Chipperfield at his best!

  • luna

    as a Chinese, I do not think I like it. it totally destroy the mountain view of the site.

  • jpj

    I don't understand how you guys see prison bars. I didn't get that at all. just beautiful, disintegrating walls. excellent

  • Katibi

    It offends my aesthetic sensibilities: so insensitive to both the site and living. Modern architects are so out of touch with longevity of construction, the energy crisis and the comfort of people, it's just a look for another magazine. Accountability and responsibility are gone.