缘起 | Origin
As a metropolis with a population of 20 million, how to include nature in urbanization and how to accommodate tradition in modernization have become the primary problems in urban construction. In Ming and Qing Dynasties and even in the Republic of China, Beijing was not so big. From the Forbidden City to the West and the foot of the western mountain, the cities and the countryside were integrated into the mountains and rivers. The residential courtyard and the royal garden together formed a mountain forest city picture of the unity of man and nature. At present, both sides of the extension line of West Chang’an Street are already covered with numerous square buildings and courtyards, and urban parks are no exception. Apart from providing functional leisure and sports facilities, their environment and architectural design are straightforward and even rigid. The more interesting “Parks” for tourists are still those royal gardens open to the public, where people form a dialogue with nature and provide a possibility of natural habitation with traditional wisdom. Therefore, how to continue the historical and cultural context in the large-scale new development of the functional urban environment, with a new perspective, to re create a public space full of traditional human interests, has become the purpose of our “new urban construction”. Therefore, how to continue the historical and cultural context in the large-scale new development of the functional urban environment, with a new perspective, to re create a public space full of traditional human interests, has become the purpose of our “new urban construction”.
▼项目概览，project preview ©迟增磊
破题 | Solving problems
As the park is divided by an urban road, planners reserve a sinking square to cross the road, connecting the East and West parks. Tourists turn back down the slope, through the dark tunnel, from the park to the other park. The change of the drop brings a natural Valley “cave” experience to the original dry flat Park, which also becomes the starting point of our design. Climb from the sinking square of the east garden to the ground of the west garden, and a earth mountain (originally designed for earthwork balance) can be seen not far away. At the foot of the mountain, a still water square is set up for tourists to trample on the water and play. The architect grasped the change of the terrain and planned to embed a section of “cave” space at the foot of the earth mountain to highlight the interest of the mountain forest. The owners and planners of the park agreed with us. Just as an old public toilet in Dongyuan needs to be rebuilt in another place due to the conflict with the planned road, we decided to move it to the foot of the earth mountain and try to talk with the nature and the city through the construction.
▼出入口掠影，a glance to the entrance ©迟增磊
▼城市剖面图，urban section ©如式建筑
▼项目剖面图，project section ©如式建筑
Chinese traditional construction emphasizes the integration of nature and architecture. No matter living in courtyard, garden or mountain, people face nature directly in the building and borrow from each other. Natural and artificial objects from the same lifting of materials to the same structure of language, dialogue and symbiosis. People, as users, thus establish the concept of becoming unconscious of the boundary between oneself and the external world and try to practice this principle, which has become the goal of this project.
The small earth mountain adjacent to the project is of gentle slope shape, covering an area of about 600 square meters, with a drop of about 6 meters. The building covers an area of about 200 square meters, with a total height of nearly 4 meters. The two volumes are relatively close. In order to make the building and the mountain not stand against each other, we will integrate the two into one in order to cover the shape of the earth building, connect the mountain body and accommodate the “cave”.
The building is half hidden and half exposed between the mountains, taking into account the accessibility and concealment, while responding to the safety and privacy expected by tourists for the toilet function.
观感 | Impressions
The surface of the building is finished with fair faced concrete, which is natural and looks like the stone in the earth. The light and shadow in the room are changeable, which makes people think of the garden and natural scenery.
▼建筑外观，exterior view ©迟增磊
The house in the earth is intended to create a kind of architectural space with simple appearance and rich interior view, just like the garden in the south of the Yangtze River. Stepping into the hall, you can see the washing table on the front, and the mirror surface is hung above the table. There is a niche on the mirror, from which the natural light refracts and enters. You can feel the change of the sky light in four seasons, and you can watch yourself and the sky. Turn right and walk through the dark corridor. You can see that the mirror stainless steel wall and the roof skylight reflect each other and describe their own characteristics. The toilet sign is hung on the wall. The entrance of men and women is hidden behind the left and right walls. Occasionally, people go out without the door opening, emphasizing the privacy of the toilet room. The toilet building is divided into two parts of men and women in the arc ceiling, the interior wall is decorated with imitation fair faced concrete paint, the lower part is pasted with black ceramic brocade brick, the outer wall is set with frosted glass window to introduce soft natural light, the toilet space is like shade under the huge Pavilion cover, the atmosphere is soft and quiet.
▼洗手间，镜面不锈钢墙面与屋顶天光互相映射，the toilet: the mirror stainless steel wall and the roof skylight reflect each other ©迟增磊
Another room in the main hall is the third bathroom, which is also used as the disabled room and the mother and baby room. The transparent glass ceiling is used in this room, and the sky light is full of the whole space, which has the interest of “watching the sky”. The rest hall is located in the corner of the building, where a hole is opened. There is another courtyard outside the cave. Trees are planted in the courtyard. The courtyard is hidden in the soil, but there is an opening which is connected with the view of the mountain path. Because of the borrowing of layers, you can see both the courtyard view and the tourists in the mountain in a flash. It is interesting to see the Lake stone. There is another accommodation for duty personnel, which is a closed square room, about 3M high, with small observation windows. The overall appearance is like a square stone, embedded between the inside and outside of the main hall. The main entrance of the building is provided with a gentle slope path, which is obliquely inserted into the mountain. When entering the mountain, you can look at the entrance of the corner of the building with the tourists in the rest room. After climbing the top along the road, the tourists turn back to the mountain road and go down with the trend to still water square.
▼从休息间望向庭院，view to the courtyard from the seating area ©迟增磊
▼光的不同照射方式表现图，different ways of bringing light in ©如式建筑
Leakage of light: Light spills right above the washing table and hides in a small anti curved niche. This concave light can be seen when the skylight between the roof slab and the retaining wall is cast.
Penetration of light: From the main hall to the toilet room, you can find the light transmission. It is a light band from the flat skylight. Due to the dark corridor connection between the main hall and the toilet room, the dark enhances the bright experience of the light belt.
Secret of light: Secret of light appears in the toilet. The light of the toilet is sprinkled from three sides, soft and quiet.
The presence of light: In the north side of the toilet building, the opening is wide open. From the outside of the hall, you can see the light in the opening.
▼厕室的光，the light in the toilet room ©迟增磊
余论 | Postscript
The toilet building is embedded in the earth mound. First, it establishes an observation perspective of “hidden and introspective”, which is dependent on the nature by creating a garden realm that pursues “the scene in front of the eyes”; second, the project uses the good thermal insulation property of the raw soil itself and the application of natural light source in the design, which reduces the dependence of the building on energy and makes it more ecological.
We think that a good house should be a vivid small world, and the urban construction guided by the thinking of gardening opens up new possibilities. Gardening is the materialization of Chinese traditional philosophy, literature, painting and other arts. Through the continuous dialogue between man and nature, the method of refining the application body and borrowing from it is suitable to generate space experience.
At present, due to the development of deep urbanization, public space and public facilities are becoming more and more important. We believe that if we can innovate the traditional construction concept and build according to local conditions, we may be able to improve the quality of urban space and respond to the demands of the times when nature and tradition return to the practice of urban human settlements.