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2019 10 18

Enjoy a Natural Space

"It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little," said Irish playwright Oscar Wilde.
 
Have you ever missed the nature, when the green fields are turned to cities of reinforce concrete, and when the air we breathe is converted from pure oxygen to carbon dioxide?

This lush forest used to be a garbage dump in the eastern suburbs of Shanghai. Its owner spent 3 year planting trees here and removed this little scar on the earth. 10 houses have been built here, so that people can stay and talk. This is "Shi Yuan" space in Nanhui District, Shanghai. We are fortunate to have such a space that allows people to ponder the topic of people and nature.

Harmony between human and nature is the keyword in the design of Shi Yuan, as well as the reason why the patio design was introduced into the construction.

In the article Aesthetics of the Song Dynasty, it mentions that Song Dynasty literati did not care about power and wealth, because they "have mountains and rivers in their hearts." This is even more true when one has visited Shi Yuan. Here, what impresses people is not just the building itself, but also the natural surroundings. 

In terms of aesthetics, if there is a patio added into a builing, the building will be turned from ordinary to extraordinary. With appropriate arrangement and care, it will be even more extraordinary. The design of the patio is the heart of buildings, and when the building "have mountains and rivers in their hearts", they will have vitality and style naturally, and people in the buildings will be able to enjoy the nature.

"A space, even if it has reached the ultimate in its visual design, but if there is no life  coming in, it will still be tropit. The urban design that I understand should create a space where people can embrace nature and be relaxed based on limited conditions."

In order to make the building no longer a barrier between human and the nature, in the transformation of the nearly 2,000 square meters of space, the designer completed all the facades with the remaining soil after deep processing, and the aged wood acquired from old wood market became the protagonist of the interior space. In the morning, when the first sunlight enters the room through the cracks in the building and floods on the walls made of soil and old wood, the play of light and shadow inside makes people feel like being outside.

The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said: "A building should appear to grow easily from its site and be shaped to harmonize with its surroundings if Nature is manifest there."

Shi Yuan is such a building. It represents a kind of healthy life full of meanings, and gives a soft balance between man and nature. In the integration of man and nature, one can enjoy the quiet nature, an aesthetic mood, and a pure soul.

Such architecture and life combine into a fine poem carved by craftsmen. A natural environment with a comfortable design is truly a heaven for the soul.