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Genglou - China 2013Lychee Garden

This project to build 14 residential dormitories and a communal gathering space for the staff of a UK furniture company based in southern China, has been integrated into an established orchard and food producing vegetable garden adjacent to the factory complex.

The curvilinear spiral forms of each house are scaled to minimize impact on the existing trees and use re-claimed bricks for the exterior shells and other re-cycled materials for various elements. Local construction traditions have had to be combined with a newer design methodology to achieve the aim of low impact comfortable retreats in a rural/industrial area with limited services and construction expertise.

The dome shaped common lounge and kitchen is a prototype modular dwelling developed in collaboration with Timothy Oulton Projects. Constructed with a fully timber structure, timber shingle exterior and salvaged timber linings, it has been designed to German Passivehaus specifications and is the first residential certification in China of this highest of international standards for energy usage.

To achieve this and ensure a comfortable interior environment during the very hot humid summers of southern Guangdong Province the building employs many passive and active systems including, extensive insulation with a high degree of air-tightness, triple glazing with automated and fixed shading, a thickly insulated internal slab and stone floor as stabilising heat sink and a ventilation system which includes a highly efficient energy exchange unit with ground cooled air intake and exhaust ducts. Efficient appliances have been used throughout and the interior LED lighting system uses a combined total of less than 500 watts.

Other existing structures within the garden have been retained and renovated as a laundry and gym. A reedbed sewerage system has been constructed to treat wastewater for re-use on the gardens.