Yangshuo Storefronts
11 June 2005

The small neighborhood is built on a block of 2300 sqm and is comprised of five small alleys and six separate buildings. The buildings occupy the entire boundary of the site, and the main alleys inside work as continuations of the neighboring urban fabric. We adopted a native way to have the main alleys point toward the major mountains nearby, namely the Lotus and the Dragon Head Mountain. As a result of this layout, all the six buildings become irregular in their plans. On the ground floor there are small shops and the shop owners live on the second floor. There are corridors linking all the buildings on the 3rd and 4th floor. Units of these floors each have a bathroom and a kitchen. They could function either as apartments or as shops. Passing through the bridges linking each building, people will always find special views toward the surrounding Karst Mountains.

The neighborhood is built mainly with four local materials: the blue-greenish Yangshuo stone, Larch wood panels, small grey tiles and bamboo stripes. The “city control regulation” asks for all the buildings to be painted white. We found the regulation is a total mistake. The local villages never have large area of white-washed walls. The villages were all built with exposed local stone and grey bricks.

Seen from a distance, the storefronts have nothing startling. While coming closer, most people will be surprised by the appearance of the central building. Bamboo stripes of 6-meter-long and 6-centimeter-wide are placed at 8 centimeter distance from each other, with right angle to the building facade. Behind the bamboo layer, there is a layer of folding wood panels. When the wood panels are opened, people could have a sense that there is only a curtain of bamboo stripes between them and the Karst Mountains.


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