House For All Seasons
by John Lin

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Architect John Lin has adapted the traditional style of a rural Chinese courtyard residence to create a village house that is entirely self-sufficient (+ slideshow).

House For All Seasons by John Lin

Lin, who is an architecture professor at the University of Hong Kong, designed the house in Shijia Village, north-eastern China, as a model that would encourage village residents to be less dependent on outside goods and services.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

A number of courtyards are contained behind the walls of the house, accommodating a pig pen and an underground biogas boiler that generates energy from the animal waste.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

Wide staircases provide areas for planting crops, which can be fertilised using leftover slurry from the boiler and dried on the roof of the house.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

During the rainy season the roof is also used to collect water, which filters down into a large container and can be stored throughout the year.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

Just like a traditional village residence, the building has insulating mud walls, but also features a concrete frame to increase earthquake-resistance and a latticed brick exterior that provides both shade and natural ventilation.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

House For All Seasons recently won first prize in the AR House 2012 awards. Last year's winner was a house covered in rubber and the winning project in 2010 was a house with shutters weighted by concrete balls.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

Here's a press release from the Architectural Review:


Constructing China: Award-winning Architects Lead the Way

House For All Seasons by John Lin

The Architectural Review presents its prestigious 2012 House Award to Chinese architect John Lin, joining an international community of critics who are recognising the excellence and innovation of contemporary architects working in China today.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

This is the year of the Chinese architect. The Architectural Review has presented its 2012 House Award to John Lin, a Hong Kong-based architect whose innovative work takes him into the interstices of the extraordinary transformation underway in China’s cities, towns and rural areas.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

Lin’s winning project is an updated version of the vernacular mud brick courtyard house that populates China’s vast rural areas.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

His design for a modern prototype of this traditional locus of rural life, increasingly at risk, brings together both old and new, incorporating concrete technology with original mud brick construction.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

Central to the design is the idea of self-sufficiency. The multifunctional roof provides a space for drying food, steps for seating and a means to collect water in the rainy season.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

Four courtyards accommodate, among many household activities, a place for keeping pigs and an underground biogas system that produces energy for cooking.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

The entire structure is surrounded by a brick screen wall that protects the mud walls and shades the interior.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

According to Lin, his contemporary update of the traditional Chinese rural house will help “villages [reduce] their dependency on outside goods and services”.

House For All Seasons by John Lin

Click above for larger image

By “evolving” rather than “preserving”, he says, “we’re actually working to prevent a rural ghetto.”

House For All Seasons by John Lin

Click above for larger image

Catherine Slessor, awards jury chair, notes that “Lin’s new twist on an old format points the way to responding to China’s unprecedented housing challenges in original ways, by retaining the best of the past while embracing a rapidly changing future.”

House For All Seasons by John Lin

Click above for larger image

Title: A House For All Seasons
Location: Shijia Village, Shaanxi Province, China
Designer: John Lin / The University of Hong Kong
Commisioning donor: Luke Him Sau Charitable Trust

Project collaborators:
Shaanxi Province Women’s Federation
Qiaonan Town Government
Shijia Village Government
The University of Hong Kong

Credits:
Huang Zhiyun
Kwan Kwok Ying
Maggie Ma
Jane Zhang
Qian Kun
Katja Lam
Li Bin

Project details:
Date: March 2012
Size: 380m2
Cost: 53,400 USD
Unit Cost: 140 USD/m2

  • Colonel Pancake

    “But where’s the crown molding?”

    - America

    • http://vrielingwoodworks.com Paul

      Haha, that’s funny! A lot of times we install crown molding to hide something, such as speaker wires, a bad paint job, cracks in the walls, etc.

      This house is flawless as far as I can tell. What a concept to building a home! I don’t think Lennar will be pumping these out everything included anytime soon back in the States…

  • xtiaan

    Stunning! Now if they just took a leaf from Khalili’s Geltaftan fired-brick method the whole thing could be produced on site.

  • Octavio

    Not what I´m working on in China.

  • whyowhy

    Hassan Fathy would love this project.

  • jnuarch

    I checked out their site, but there weren't many photos beyond what's here. A truly inspiring project. I would even say it's timeless.

    If only I could see it in person…

  • janine

    Reminds me of the work of Laurie Baker in India. Modest but beautiful.