The Mushroom by ZJJZ is a cone-shaped guest house in the woods of Jiangxi, China

Made of granolithic concrete and pinewood panel finishes, The Mushroom is shrouded by trees and seems to hover above the forest land, its architecture integrating itself with nature.

by STIRworldPublished on : Apr 15, 2021

Shanghai-based studio ZJJZ has designed The Mushroom - a cone-shaped guest house nestled within a pine forest in China's Jiangxi province. Built along a sloped, wood-paneled path that meanders through expanses of wild grass and rich red soil, the structure is shrouded by trees and rests slightly elevated above its surrounding landscape. The Mushroom's towering conical roof resembles a pinecone dropped from the branch of an encircling tree, giving off a quaint, earthy charm that obscures the line between nature and built form.

  • Located within a pine forest, the structure can be accessed along a meandering wooden walkway |ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
    Located within a pine forest, the structure can be accessed along a meandering wooden walkway Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ
  • Shrouded by trees, it rests elevated above the surrounding landscape on steel supports |ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
    Shrouded by trees, it rests elevated above the surrounding landscape on steel supports Image: Fangfang Tian

For the design team at ZJJZ, managing this relationship between architecture and nature was integral to the design process and became its guiding parameter. To this end, the 50 sqm residential architecture is built as an intimate cabin in the woods, lifted above the ground level by steel supports submerged in concrete footings to minimise its impact on the terrain.

The relationship between architecture and nature guided the design process|ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
The relationship between architecture and nature guided the design process Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ

Over time, the architects hope that plants beneath the structure will gradually grow upwards to embrace and caress its underbelly, solidifying the harmony between the house and its natural environment. The Mushroom's form above comprises two intersecting volumes that subdivide interior spaces according to their respective functions.

A series of elevated steps lead to the entrance, embedded within the projecting rectangular volume|ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
A series of elevated steps lead to the entrance, embedded within the projecting rectangular volume Image: Fangfang Tian

Accessed by a series of elevated steps that lead to a narrow-embedded entryway, the first of the structure's two zones is a rectangular mass projecting from a second circular volume. This latter section's shape is reminiscent of the upturned cap of its namesake fungus.

The house’s form consists of two intersected volumes coated with granolithic concrete crowned by a towering conical roof clad in pinewood panels  |ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
The house’s form consists of two intersected volumes coated with granolithic concrete crowned by a towering conical roof clad in pinewood panels Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ

The Mushroom's exterior is coated with granolithic concrete and crowned by the visually striking cone-shaped roof clad in pinewood panels. ZJJZ expects that these materials will patinate over time, change colours according to changes in humidity and weather conditions, permitting the dwelling to blend with its natural context.

The bathing area features a horizontal slit window adjacent to its inbuilt tub, which ushers nature into the space |ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
The bathing area features a horizontal slit window adjacent to its inbuilt tub, which ushers nature into the space Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ

A bathroom and storage area occupy the first rectangular mass. With an earthy, minimalist aesthetic that employs wood panels and grey tiles, the bathing area features a horizontal slit window adjacent to its inbuilt tub, bringing in nature and ensuring privacy by avoiding the view from the nearby walkway. Additionally, an overhead circular skylight illuminates the space and “introduces different expressions of light and shadow” on its surfaces that reflect prevailing weather conditions. This zone also serves a subsidiary purpose as the house's lobby, which provides a tranquil area for guests to visit and linger.

Ahead, the Mushroom’s main body consists of the circular guest room |ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
The Mushroom’s main body consists of the circular guest room Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ

Further ahead, The Mushroom's main body consists of a circular guest room with a warm, cosy ambience, sparsely populated by furniture and featuring wood-panelled walls and flooring that enhances its connection to nature.

  • The highlight of this space is a curved panoramic window placed to coincide with a viewer’s eye level when seated |ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
    The highlight of this space is a curved panoramic window placed to coincide with a viewer’s eye level when seated Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ
  • Guests can immerse themselves in the beauty of the forest |ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
    Guests can immerse themselves in the beauty of the forest Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ

A curved panoramic window is the highlight of this space, placed to coincide with a seated viewer's eye level. When lounging on the bed or settled on one of the chairs, guests will be able to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surrounding forest.

  • A compact wood finished staircase with a wall-recessed handrail leads to the Mushroom's upper loft |ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
    A compact wood finished staircase with a wall-recessed handrail leads to the Mushroom's upper loft Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ
  • The pure white interior of the home's soaring conical ceiling is rounded at the top |ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
    The pure white interior of the home's soaring conical ceiling is rounded at the top Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ

A compact wood finished staircase with a recessed handrail leads to the Mushroom's upper loft that serves as an area dedicated for children. Overhead, the pure white interior design has a soaring conical ceiling rounded at the top to evoke an image of the space extending upwards, unbounded by its structural confines.

  • Ground Floor Plan of the MushroomZJJZ | China | STIRworld
    The Mushroom: Ground Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ
  • Loft Plan |ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
    Loft Plan Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ
  • Longitudinal Section of the Mushroom |ZJJZ | China | STIRworld
    The Mushroom: Longitudinal Section Image: Courtesy of ZJJZ

Project Details

Name: The Mushroom - a wood house in the forest
Architect:  ZJJZ
Project location: Jiangxi, China
Completion Year: 2020
Gross Built Area: 50 m2
Lead Architects:
Sean Shen, Xuanru Chen, Yuying Kate Tsai
Clients: TREE WOW
Contractor: Zhejiang Huzhou Deyi Construction Co., Ltd.
Structure Consultant:XIE Technologies

(Text by Jerry Joe Elengical, intern at STIRworld.com)

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