Plenty of homes attempt to bring the outdoors in, or at least try to create a seamless transition between the inside and out, whether that’s through completely glazed walls or open patios or by literally incorporating a site’s topography into the plan by building around it. This mountain retreat in Fujian Province in southeast China does all these things, too, sure, but the result of these measures more than exceeds the sum of its parts.
Designed by Xu Fu-Min for a city-dwelling client who was nostalgic for the countryside of his youth, Returning Hut, as it’s called is a sweeping, two-story structure that feels more museum than home due not only to its expansive volume but also because of its insistence on showcasing the surrounding landscape’s beauty through the use of dramatic glazing and natural elements.
It’s the double-height glazed living area that is the home’s pièce de résistance. With walls clad in stone and floors in slate, the gallery-like room functions as a showcase for the garden, which appears as a natural extension of the space. Still, the vault-like room manages to exude a certain coziness, no doubt in part to the home’s positioning beside the foot of a mountain and forest. A home theater is also set on this level.
Wooden steps lead to the second floor, where the two bedrooms and a master suite reside. Here, glass volumes define the space as floor-to-ceiling windows frame the rocky terrain outside. A low-profile bed and an ensuite bathroom once again seem to fade into the background, allowing the natural elements to shine. A large boulder thrusts itself through the in-ground wading tub, creating a visual dialogue with its companions right beyond the glass.