Vector Architects adds curving vaulted roof to refurbished house in Chinese port
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects

Vector Architects adds barrel-vaulted roof to refurbished house in Chinese port

Vector Architects has renovated a house perched on a rocky peninsula in China's Fujian Province, adding a vaulted concrete roof that encloses a new living area with views towards the sea from either end.

Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects

Captain's House is located in the village of Beijiao at the end of Huangqi Peninsula. The geology of the peninsula's cliffs means buildings are clustered along a narrow spine.

Twenty years of exposure to damp and corrosive sea air had compromised the existing building's structure and caused serious leaks that needed to be addressed as part of the renovation process.

Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects

Beijing-based Vector Architects was tasked with upgrading the house and making it better suited to modern family life.

Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects

"Our design work starts with the study of structural reinforcement," said the studio. "After a series of careful comparisons, we decided to add a layer of 12-centimetre concrete wall to the original brick masonry walls. This strategy brings us extra potential to make a better quality of space."

Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects

The addition of the new concrete wall allowed the architects to reconfigure the interior layout and provided the structural strength required to add the third storey to the existing building.

A pair of bathrooms on the ground and first floors were removed from the sea-facing side of the building to the elevation bounded by the neighbouring property. This provided the living room, dining area and master bedroom with improved views, as well as more natural light and ventilation.

Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects

The additional thickness of the external walls also allows furniture to be incorporated in voids that are carved out from the facades to accommodate the windows.

These intermediary spaces contain seating, shelving, desks and other fitted furniture that enables them to perform various functional roles in additions to framing the sea vistas.

Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects

Externally, the new openings feature concrete frames that project outwards to assist drainage by preventing excess rainwater from running down the walls and into the window recesses.

Stopping leaks was also a key reason for the implementation of the curved vault added to the new upper storey, which ensures that water runs off quickly.

Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects

The linear form also frames distinctly different views at either end, with the bustling port visible on one side and the tranquil seascape stretching away towards the horizon on the other.

The vault houses a multipurpose living area that can accommodate visiting family and friends, as well as functioning as a gym, activity space and private chapel for the Christian owners.

Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects

A mezzanine level is situated beneath the curving ceiling, with terraces that extend from both ends providing outdoor spaces that enhance the connection between the interior and the surrounding scenery.

Openings punched into the roof illuminate the board-marked surfaces, while translucent glass blocks used to fill in the arching end walls allow diffused light to permeate through the surface at night.

Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects

Among Vector Architects' previous projects is a museum in Beijing that features an entrance draped in wire mesh and an elevated chapel on a beach that allows seawater to wash underneath.

Photography by Xia Zhi, Chen Hao and Chen Zhenqiang.

More images and plans

Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Site plan
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Ground floor plan
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
First floor plan
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Mezzanine floor plan
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Third floor
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Section one
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Section two
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Section three
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Axonometric diagram
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects
Renovation of the Captain's House, by Vector Architects