by Jincy IypeSep 25, 2021
ZJJZ Atelier has dressed four elevated oval holiday cabins called 'The Seeds wood houses' in mirrored aluminum tiles that rise up to meet pine shingles. Located in the village of Jiangxi in China, the off-grid guest houses are named so because of their organic shape, and have continuous, ellipsoidal surfaces that echo their natural surroundings and reflect the seasons in perpetuity.
The mirrored metal cladding performs like an architectural chameleon, taking on “the lustre of red soil in winter, green plants in spring and summer, mist when wet, and sunshine on bright days,” explains the Shanghai-based architecture and design firm, ZJJZ. “Like the roots of a plant, this reflective cladding anchors each house to the earth, while the pine shingles give the structures a warm, soft aesthetic, allowing these to blend into the surrounding nature,” they continue.
Pine shingles cover most of the facades, except for the rounded undersides, which are dressed in shiny aluminium tiles that make appearances at random on the exterior for visual relief.
Each pod has been designed with several circular holes that create internal sight lines branching off in different directions. These apertures cater to the functional demands of the space and to regulate natural light and ventilation within.
The largest opening on the front has sliding doors that open to a spacious, circular terrace. Resting on pillars, the terrace seems like a floating stone platform. A tree pierces the terrace of one of the Seed houses, to provide shade and greenery, while a round window on the side of the structure faces sparse woods. A similar, bigger oculus window rests in the cosy attic, to reveal treetops and the skies.
The interior design features undulant as well as straight surfaces clad in panels of wood, where the stripes formed by the natural colour difference of timber further exaggerate the egg shape of the pods. Accessed by an external staircase, the entrance lies behind the master bedroom, along with the bathroom and a storage room. This area leads to an attic space that has been dedicated to children, with a view of the main space below. An oculus window here floods the attic and the floor below in natural light. A narrow, elliptical staircase connects the space to the floor below, intersecting the entryway to form yet another intriguing, carved-out space.
The Seeds was developed for Tree Wow, who wanted the structures to be based on a form found in nature. Instead of mere mimicry, ZJJZ decided on developing the spatial retreat by staging views and establishing a direct relationship between the buildings and their surrounding environment. “They seemed to arise from another dimension, looking nothing like we had originally planned,” shares the design team, who also designed The Mushroom guesthouse for the same client last year.
Name: The Seeds - Wood Houses
Location: Jiangxi, China
Client: TREE WOW
Gross Built Area: 60 sqm each
Year of Completion: 2020
Design Team: Yuying Kate Tsai, Xuanru Chen, Sean Shen
Structure Consultant: XIE Technologies