LAI Yard

LAI Yard

Minggu Design

Nanjing, China
Project Year
Cultural Centres

A place for meditation and exchange designed by Jaco.Pan

Minggu Design as Architects

Located in the south of city, the plain historic house is introverted, which is different from its lively name in fact. Hundreds of years, silently stood at the alley and near the ancient city wall , it was listed as the protection buildings to being repaired. On the north of the original house, two pseudo-classic architectures were built to constitute three enclosed open courtyards. With the unsophisticated and narrow entrance, people bow to cross and rise brightly. Trees and buildings interweave silhouetted, elegantly and harmoniously.

“LAI Yard”is named after“Lai”, which means it is from far to here, from traditional to contemporary. We wish to convey the modern architecture in the traditional courtyard. The original design intention is to superimpose in a disorganized order, it could be a space of meditation, or a schoolroom.

The meditation area hangs over the  base surface of the old house, and interacts with the courtyard. Original column system and transparent material together form an enclosed space, whose façade is facing the courtyard and merging into the Chinese-garden style scenery. The interior structure is inspired by primary and secondary ranks that correspond to deep and bright colors. The two narrow rooms that are located on left and right of the enclosed space are indented to ensure a sharp contrast to the master room in the middle. The layout of this project is decent, but also full with surprising details. Contrary elements, such as the old and the new, the interior and the exterior, the light and the dark, the conventional and the contemporary, are found to meet here, and merge into a harmony existence. Light and Space, are the only two themes that the architect emphasized. By blocking all incoming light in the original building, the architect leaves only the southeast side to allow daylight penetration. The vague light become tangible and visible through both internal and external roof structure and a series of construction. As time goes by, the light and the shadow also changes its angles from morning to evening, result in a vivid indoor atmosphere that is presented by “the light” and strengthened by “the dark”. Just like a couple who is in a love and hatred relationship, “light” and “dark” also involve nexus between worship and loathing, encourage and damage. In the darkness’ perspective, the light appears brighter and more attractive. The old well in the courtyard is appreciated as the source of “earth water”, which is mixed in a canal that is connected to drains for collecting the “heaven water” from the eaves. The canal lead the mixed water flow along the courtyard, revealing the architecture and the meditation area, as well as derive the courtyard communication. The bright façade and clear water act as a mirror, send the daylight from the courtyard to the ceiling inside in a form of gentle reflection. This project illustrate the architect’s philosophy and understanding of dualistic opposition theory, as well as the attempt to observe the truth and reality through such a method.

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