House W by Atelier About Architecture

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House W is a residential project in Beijing, China by the Chinese firm, Atelier About Architecture. Taking three years to complete the design, House W has undergone numerous changes and adjustments. During this time, Atelier About Architecture invested a lot of effort in the design process resulting in architecture that solves an design issues with absolute sincerity.

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The design of House W was challenged by two physical conditions at the beginning of the project: the temperature at the site is extremely low in winter because the building rests against a hillside, therefore requiring ample heat preservation inside during the cold, winter weather and energy efficiency. In most circumstances, the rooms of House W will be arrayed along the four sides of the plan, and therefore the area in the centre will barely be sharing any sunlight and will become inanimate. This situation worsens when the volume becomes larger; introducing issues of heating and ventilation.

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House W is a cozy hillside residence that rejects ornamentation, resulting in a bold and minimalist aesthetic

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As the house is standing with its rear against the hillside, it allows the cold air to run across the northern façade during the winter. Atelier About Architecture have outlined the program of the building as well as the sizes and positions of the windows, as per the site conditions and sunlight. The outside walls of the House W are wrapped with 150mm insulation panels, plus a large glass box in the atrium to provide continuous heating in the winter. As proved by data collected during the first heating session, the interior temperature reaches an average level of 11 degrees celsius in the winter without turning on any of the heating equipment. Meanwhile, the cool air is introduced via the basement and is discharged from the interior as a result of natural airflow to reduce the interior temperature.

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During the design process, Atelier About Architecture invited the Architecture and Technology Institute of Tsinghua University to carry a professional examination of House W with the purpose of ensuring the residence meets with the international standards.

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The philosophy of Adolf Loos regarding the removal of ornaments from objects, as according to his article ‘Ornament and Crime,’ served as a design precedent for the aesthetic of the residence, which resulted in a “sincere” design.

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