A flat roof villa with extensive greenery, natural stone facade and narrow windows redefines traditional Chinese architecture – the LEI house, a project by AZL Architects, presents an exciting mix of two architectural styles. Tradition meets modernity and the end result inspires with a clever concept. We present you a holiday home with character that can be harmoniously integrated into both the village and the contemporary urban landscape. Let yourself be inspired by the project!
The flat roof villa was inspired by traditional Chinese architecture
In contrast to the big cities in China, where numerous skyscrapers have shaped the urban landscape for about 30 years and the traditional single-family houses no longer exist, little has changed in terms of architecture in the countryside. The traditional construction of the houses in the villages follows the principle of “architecture without architects and planning”. In any case, more and more old buildings have been demolished in recent years – and the new buildings present themselves as an eclectic mix between the traditional and the modern. An excellent example is the LEI house – located in the Tonglu Province. The flat roof villa is located in the village of Shanyinwu and is only a few kilometers from the nearby city. Like almost all neighboring houses, it was in urgent need of modernization. The talented architects from AZL-Architekturbüro were commissioned with the task. The owner specified a multifunctional interior, where she can have a separate apartment on the third floor and rent out the first two floors as a guest house.
The architects opted for traditional Chinese architecture – the house consists of one volume, has narrow windows (typical of the villages) and is only three stories high. The facade is clad in natural stone – the material creates a visual connection to the hilly surroundings and adds a fresh note to the facade design. But that’s where the similarities to the old buildings from the region end. The villa was actually built of steel and concrete, the garden was designed according to the needs of the guests. A spacious terrace houses three seating groups made of rattan furniture, a spacious dining area and even a garden shed. Extensive green roofs offer the owner the opportunity to enjoy their own island of tranquility. Many wooden boxes planted with vegetables and herbs shield the roof garden from strangers.
Flat roof villa with a minimalist garden house outside
The absolute highlight in the outdoor area is the garden shed. Located in the middle of a garden pond, the house was made from prefabricated 3D wall panels and then only assembled on site. Numerous holes were punched in the south-facing panel – these allow plenty of sunlight into the interior and create an exciting play of light and shadow when the weather is good. The spacious gazebo offers guests the opportunity to be outdoors on rainy days or to end even cool evenings outside. At the same time, the garden shed is inseparable from the house, has a direct power connection and lighting and can therefore fulfill numerous functions, including serving as storage space for rattan furniture in winter.
The advantages of the prefabricated construction played a major role in the success – in China there are hardly any skilled workers to be found in the countryside, and most projects are carried out on a small budget. Since the individual details of the prefabricated house were prefabricated, the architects were able to keep track of the costs incurred. The transport and assembly costs have also been kept within limits – a click system enables quick assembly and the individual elements are light in weight compared to bricks and wooden beams.
Flat roof villa – the interior combines functionality with comfort
A staircase in the middle of the living area connects all floors. On the ground floor there is a stylish dining room with direct access to the kitchen, which is equipped with everything you need. So the guests can cook together in the evening. The architects also tried to save as much money as possible with the furnishings. The bamboo pendant lights were made by local specialists. Otherwise, the furniture is kept to the essentials. The guest rooms are all extremely comfortably furnished with a generous double bed, three-seater sofa and a small side table. The owner’s apartment also has a small kitchenette where she can prepare her favorite dishes undisturbed.
The walls are deliberately kept white – as the house has narrow windows, not enough sunlight comes into the rooms. The white walls should make the rooms appear brighter. The simple modern look of the stairwell with glass railings and the white ceiling with built-in lights add a minimalist touch to the interior design. The carpeting, on the other hand, gives the rooms a homely look. Together with the wooden furniture and the charming linen upholstered sofas, it creates a cozy atmosphere. Decorating was very sparing – especially the charming decorative pillows with patterns set accents.
In the end, the LEI house is a successful combination of old and new – on the one hand, with its stone-clad facade and narrow windows, it blends harmoniously into the village landscape, and on the other hand, the house emerges from a building volume through the extensive green roof, the modern Garden house made of prefabricated panels and the terrace with concrete floor as a minimalist beauty. The extremely practical room distribution and the comfortable furnishings leave nothing to be desired by the guests.
Project by: AZL Architects