At the confluence of tradition and modernity, nestled in Qingshan Village in Hangzhou, is the Terraced Courtyard by TEAM_BLDG. Originally a long-abandoned Longwu Spring Water Plant, the transformed building is now an ensemble of residential, office, exhibition, and commercial spaces. Designed between June and November of 2021 and completed in May 2023, the Terraced Courtyard has emerged as a focal point in the village, inviting both new and existing residents into a shared communal space.
Terraced Courtyard in Hangzhou Technical Information
- Architects1-2: TEAM_BLDG
- Location: Qingshan Village, Hangzhou, China
- Area: 2,033 m2
- Project Year: 2021 – 2023
- Photographs: © Jonathan Leijonhufvud
This reconstruction project aims to strengthen the bond between residents and residents with the village by creating a shared place in which both the existing and new villagers may engage and share among each other.
– TEAM_BLDG Architects
Terraced Courtyard in Hangzhou Photographs
A Harmonious Blend of Tradition and Innovation in Modern Rural Architecture
The Terraced Courtyard stands amid a complex cultural milieu. Qingshan Village in Hangzhou’s Yuhang District is a juxtaposition of opulent new villas and the remnants of traditional architecture. The village, although deeply modernized, preserves its natural textures around water bodies, farmlands, and bamboo forests.
The challenge for TEAM_BLDG, led by architects Xiao Lei, Yang Yuqiong, Deng Zhaojing, and Li Jiajun, was multifaceted. They were tasked not just with giving the abandoned water plant a new life but also with creating a space that fits seamlessly into the local landscape, adhering to the idea of a “real space.”
The original structure was a three-story half-frame building with several single-story podiums. TEAM_BLDG had to rethink this configuration, considering the site’s topography, the existing creek on the north side, and the south-facing mountain. Instead of merely altering façades, they delved deeper into what a “real space” could mean—restructuring the space to blend in with the environment as well as local habits.
Inspired by the village’s agricultural background, the team transformed the flat rooftops into terraced farmlands. These terraces not only harmonize with the site’s hilly topography but also create opportunities for community engagement. Residents can grow their own vegetables or herbs, turning the architecture itself into a shared activity.
Incorporating natural light was another crucial aspect of the design. A three-story high greenhouse made from polycarbonate sheets runs through the main building. Here, plants and exhibitions co-exist, benefiting from the natural light that filters through the skylight, creating a dynamic range of tones and atmospheres.
Within its 2,033㎡, the building houses various functions—offices, exhibitions, dining, workshops, and lodging. However, TEAM_BLDG ensured that the layout does not impose strict barriers between these different activities. The first-floor office space has glass curtain walls to bring in more natural light, while the second and third floors offer leisure spaces near guest rooms. Semi-enclosed “station” style rooms also offer privacy within the public sphere.
Perhaps the most symbolic aspect of the Terraced Courtyard is its inner courtyard. Retaining only the trees and ponds, this space becomes a natural gathering point for villagers. As one local noted, “Big trees can gather people here, and everything else is secondary.”
The construction process presented another layer of challenges. The rural setting demanded that the architects take on a craftsman’s role, focusing on low-tech and low-cost methods. This led to months of laborious prototyping and on-site tests. Despite some technical hurdles and the erosion of traditional rural construction methods, the team managed to create a textured façade that resonates with the local soil color.
With its deeply ingrained sensitivity to locale, tradition, and community, the Terraced Courtyard by TEAM_BLDG sets an example in modern rural architecture. It serves as a testament to the versatility and transformative power of architecture, capturing the soul of Qingshan Village while pushing its boundaries into the future.
Terraced Courtyard in Hangzhou Plans
Terraced Courtyard in Hangzhou Image Gallery
TEAM_BLDG is an architectural firm known for its innovative and culturally sensitive designs. Led by architects Xiao Lei, Yang Yuqiong, Deng Zhaojing, and Li Jiajun, the firm specializes in projects that not only breathe new life into existing structures but also integrate seamlessly with the local landscape and community. With a focus on creating “real spaces,” TEAM_BLDG employs a multifaceted approach that considers topography, local habits, and community engagement, often blurring the lines between different functional areas within a building. Their work, such as the Terraced Courtyard in Qingshan Village, showcases a commitment to low-tech, low-cost construction methods while pushing the boundaries of modern rural architecture.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Architects: Xiao Lei, Yang Yuqiong, Deng Zhaojing, Li Jiajun
- Owner: Hangzhou Yuhang Greenwater Future Rural Development Co., LTD