EDGE Design


nr Beijing, China

December 2003
EDGE Design was asked to participate in a scheme in which 12 young Asian architects built houses in the countryside near Beijing overlooking the Great Wall. Gary Chang came up with a large space that contains many hidden surprises. His aim was to capture as much of the view of the Wall as possible, and to make a house that can be adapted for both intimate family life and large numbers of visitors.
So the 44m by 5m space can be divided up by movable sliding partitions: seven guestrooms can be created. But much more surprising is the way in which the floor of the cantilevered volume can be opened to create particular, intense spaces. In the lower stratum, there is a library, a music chamber and a meditation room (in the latter, there is a glass floor through which you can gaze down onto the landscape that flows under the cantilever). A movable staircase that can be moved down from a hatch leads to the roof terrace that commands stunning prospects of the Wall down the green and picturesque Nangou valley.
The steel structure stems from a concrete base that contains services and a sauna. The architects chose to line the whole of the main floor interiors with wood to blur the boundaries between house, interior and furniture. It is of course a folly for a millionaire on a fantastic site. But money has been used with care and imagination; the jury was taken with the intensity of its invention.

EDGE Design Institute, North Point, Hong Kong
Project team

Gary Chang, Andrew Holt, Howard Chang,
Popeye Tsang, Yee Lee
Structural engineer
Qin Min-De