Hillside House

Suzhou, China
Floor Plans
Drawing © Pu Miao
Drawing © Pu Miao
South elevation (the wall around the lower courtyard and the pool were not built)
Photo © Pu Miao
Entrance in the north elevation
Photo © Pu Miao
Dining Room and the adjacent side yard
Photo © Pu Miao
From Dining looking downward into Living Room and the adjacent Roof Garden
Photo © Pu Miao
The Roof Garden in front of the Living Room
Photo © Pu Miao
From the bedroom at the northern side looking through the gap between the two building volumes toward the Lake
Photo © Pu Miao
From the central outdoor space (upper courtyard) looking through the bridge toward the Lake and the lower courtyard
Photo © Pu Miao
From the lower courtyard on the south looking through the gap between the two building volumes
Photo © Pu Miao
Pu Miao
Green Valley development, Huan Taihu Ave, Suzhou, China
1-5 Stories
Shanghai Huaxin Construction and Development Co. Ltd.
Pu Miao, Luo Jirun
Textile Industry Design and Research Institute of Jiangsu Province

Hillside houses tend to belong to one of the two types, the terraces and the tower. While the tower has a more prominent visual appearance, the stepped profile of the terraces allows residents in the rooms same-level accesses to exterior spaces. This design explores a third type--the combined--that takes advantages from both existing models and minimizes their shortcomings. The new prototype tries to produce a better relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces, recreating the traditional Chinese courtyard space on a hillside site. This is part of the author's experiment to localize Modern Architecture.

Situated on the southern side of the mountains facing the Lake Taihu, this 250-square-meter house in the Green Valley development, Suzhou, commands a panoramic view of the Lake, one of the largest in China.

The house consists of two volumes. Containing the Foyer, Dining, and Living Rooms, the east one assumes the terraced shape, providing a generous Roof Garden in front of the Living Room. In contrast, the west component which houses the Study and Guest Room takes the tower form. The trellises roof of the tower extends over the Roof Garden of the terraces, thus interlocking the two L-shaped volumes together, formally as well as functionally. A glass-enclosed sky bridge between the two volumes further strengthens the connection.

A central outdoor space (or upper courtyard) is formed in the middle of the embraced forms. In the gap between the two volumes, a series of steps crosses under the bridge and connects the upper courtyard to a lower one which provides garden space for the bedrooms at the bottoms of both the tower and the terrace. The visual channel along the gap allows rooms even at the northern side of the upper courtyard to have a view of the Lake.   

Architectural Journal (China, 11/2007)

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Other Projects by Pu Miao

Teahouse, Xiaolangdi Dam Park
Luoyang, China
Zhuting Church
Zhuzhou, China
Pavilions in Lake Yangcheng Park
Kunshan, China
Kangju Community Center
Kushan, China
Sichang-Road Teahouse
Kunshan, China
New Jiangwan Ecological Exhibition Center
Shanghai, China