The Arsenal Café

The architecture is located in the middle and rear of the old village. The site was an abandoned homestead in the village that is said to once be the location of the Firearms Repair Bureau of Taiyue Military Region during the Anti-Japanese War. Most of the original houses have collapsed, leaving only half of the earthen houses and the foundation site. The existing courtyard gate was later rebuilt according to the local residential form. The dramatic theme of the Firearms Repair Bureau is also one of the reasons for choosing this site, which also provides a basis for the selection of subsequent design languages.

The most obvious and attractive elements in the site are the remaining half earthen house and uneven trees. The new building gives way to the old house and trees in the shape of the letter L, of which the inner side is the half earthen house, which is half enclosed by the new building. On the outside of the long side of the L is a row of vertical trees, which form a silhouette in front of the building. After the completion of the construction, a symbiotic relationship has been formed between the old and the new buildings, as well as between the buildings and the trees. They crisscross with each other and reach a new balance.

In terms of function, the new building is a cafe with water bar, which provides a main public leisure place for the guests of homestays in Hanhonggou. The opening and closing logic of building facade follows the logic of sight line and landscape. Parts of the exterior facade are open to the central landscape. The design of fullview glass windows introduces the outdoor scenery into the building. The interface between the building and the environment is softened by transparent materials, and the sight can penetrate indoors and outdoors. The wall facing the road is relatively closed, which is completed by local traditional stone-laying technology. The facade facing the inner courtyard is centered on the half earthen house, the part near which is fullview glass, while the facade away from which is mainly enclosed wall.

Project info

Location: Hanhonggou Village, Qinyuan County, Shanxi Province, China
Owner: People’s Government of Qinyuan County
Architecture and interior design: 3andwich Deisgn
Principle architects: He Wei, Chen Long
Design team: Liang Zhuyu, Sang Wanchen, Liu Mingyang, Cao Shiqing, Zhao Xinze, Li Junqi, Zhang Haoran
Project consulting: Zhou Rong, Lian Yirui
Design period: 2019
Completion time: 2020
Building area: 170 sqm
Photographer: Jin Weiqi, 3andwich Design