In 2021, Japanese architecture firm KiKi ARCHi completed the Anna Garden House, a residential renovation project in the Changping District, 30km North of Beijing, recalling the owner’s childhood memories in the country.
Anna Garden House Technical Information
- Architects1-4: KiKi ARCHi
- Location: Beijing, China
- Topics: Chinese Houses, Bricks
- Area: 300 ㎡
- Project Year: 2021
- Photographs: © Eiichi Kano / PRphoto
With the premise of retaining the original architectural structure, the European facade decoration was stripped entirely, replaced by simple geometric blocks and rustic northern red bricks. Without fussy eaves, tiles, and window edges, the house returns to its original form as if it were a sincere child, showing the appearance of simplicity and honesty.– KiKi ARCHi Architects
Anna Garden House Photographs
Text by the Architects
The bushy mountain and mirror-like lake provide a natural barrier to noise, which attracted the owners to the lot. The original 1,300㎡ site contains a large courtyard and a 200㎡ European-style house. This contradiction inspired the team, who decided to first re-establish the relationship between the house and the land. This included multiple aspects such as the relationship between ‘terrain and building,’ the ‘architectural appearance with the surrounding environment,’ and the ‘function and living experience relationship’.
Thus, the 8m height difference of the site was fully utilized. The garden at the lower level was linked with the house at the higher level through a graceful landscape design, which creates a rich visual hierarchy and sets the tone of ‘freedom & nature’ for the whole project.
On the premise of retaining the original architectural structure, the European facade decoration was stripped entirely, replaced by simple geometric blocks and rustic northern red bricks. Without fussy eaves, tiles, and window edges, the house returns to its original form as if it were a sincere child, showing the appearance of simplicity and honesty. At the east main entrance, the original front porch is hidden behind the hollow brick wall, which skillfully integrates the concept of screen wall and bricklaying technology to increase privacy and realize the semi-outdoor SPA function.
The first floor is mainly for living, while the second floor is private. With a minimalist design language, the irregular interspersion of function, structure, and material makes the interior space more attractive. Wood, glass, concrete, and other materials represent the mountain environment. The red brick elements echo the building.
To create a relaxed living atmosphere, KiKi ARCHi used a large area of glass folding doors to enclose the existing verandas on the ground floor, which brings in plenty of sunlight, eliminates the boundary between inside and outside and allows users to enjoy nature. At the same time, the landscaped elements of the curved staircase in the garden are continued in the interior space. When the glass folding doors are fully opened, the distance between the dining room, living room, teahouse, and the outdoors disappears, and people can gain greater mobility and peace in the space.
The Landscape of the Anna Garden House
The garden is permeated with a filed atmosphere. The flower rack at the entrance adopts the herringbone frame, echoing the roof form of the building. The vine becomes its skin, like a ‘green shade installation.’ Through the flower rack, an old persimmon tree stands in front of the door, seemingly showing an exciting life after descending a kind of order. On the north side of the house, there are a series of curved terraces downward, giving several playgrounds. The small viewing room and brick pavilion at the lower level, like two ‘floating islands’, are good places for chatting. In addition, the stone path on the outside connects the front and back yards, which presents an oriental romance.
There is both openness and privacy in the landscape design. KiKi ARCHi wanted to use the topography and vegetation to soften the edges of the building and add a wild, natural feeling. Therefore, an experienced plant design team, WILD – SCAPE, was invited to work together and focused on the perspective of environmental analysis, soil improvement, vegetative season, maintenance cost, and other multidimensional aspects.
As a result, the garden has no distinct planting zones or boundaries. Miscanthus and Pennisetum are suitable for the northern climate, which creates a vast feeling. Hosta and Astilbe Chinensis sway at the corner, purple Gaura and Hydrangea bring elegant ornament… Every part of the courtyard is lovely to watch.
Now, an ideal house is presented with sweet memories and hopes, and the home becomes a multidimensional space growing in the countryside. Here, everyone can relax deeply over time, as if in the wilderness, free, full of breathing, honest, and genuine.
Anna Garden House Plans
Anna Garden House Image Gallery
About KiKi ARCHi
KiKi ARCHi is an international architecture studio based in Tokyo, Beijing, and Shanghai, founded by Japanese architects Yoshihiko Seki and Saika Akiyoshi in 2013. ‘KiKi’ is a Japanese word that can be interpreted as a sense of appreciation, which means mastery, attainments, and unique opinions of things in various fields.
As the lyric and logic of KiKi ARCHi’s creation, it combines external perceptual experience with its own knowledge system, internalizes it into a harmonious but different humanistic idea, and then extends to the virtual and real dimensions of space, such as spirit, form, structure, and texture.
- Director: Yoshihiko Seki
- Design Team: Saika Akiyoshi, Tianping Wang
- Plant Design: WILD – SCAPE
- Material & Brands: micro cement-Gobbetto / Diatom mud-Shikoku / Kitchen-TJM kitchenhouse