The Twin villa is located 60 miles outside Beijing, in the Pinggu District of China, in a new residential and leisure development abutting an artificial lake. The farming community has been enhanced by the addition of a village center and farmworker housing. Market-rate housing has been introduced with a mix for seniors, moderate-income duplexes, and villas. Existing hospitality services are expanding, and public access to the lake is increasing. Numerous leisure activities are available, including boating and golf. The topography of the island site is fairly steep. The level of the lake varies depending on rainfall during the rainy season, rendering a portion of the lot, adjacent to the water, unbuildable. A pair of monolithic columns contributes to the Twin villa’s dynamic form. Custom-faceted concrete shell structures are nestled into the sloping hillside, cantilevering over the downslope, reaching out toward the lake. By embedding the semi-subterranean building into the earth, the villa’s impact on the landscape is reduced. The siting of the residence and its form and massing optimize views, while simultaneously maintaining privacy from the street and neighbors. 


Jinhai Lake, Beijing, China


Single Family Residence


10,300 sq ft


In Development


AIA Next LA Award


John V. Mutlow Architects

Two wings function as the primary structural system, supporting the villa’s primary circulation. A central circulation spine separates the pair of residential volumes. The interstitial space is a transparent threshold that functions as a visual connector to the lake. Diffused light filters through the transparent void, illuminating all levels of the home. Concrete is the region’s predominant building material and preferred choice of local craftspeople, so various applications of the versatile material are used throughout, expanding its potential. Notions of fluidity, porosity, thickness, and smoothness are explored in regard to the relationship between the interior surfaces and the exterior building volume. 

© Tighe Architecture 2021

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