RESIDENTIAL, ORGANIC, LOW TECH
Simon Laws Anthill Constructions: anthillconstructions.com.au
here a short video: vimeo.com/74683867
The Lychee Garden is a residential hub for the Halo Group’s international design headquarters and manufacturing operations based in and around the once rural town of Genglou. This communal space, known as the ‘Halodome’, is surrounded by 7 tower like buildings housing 14 residential dormitories on two levels, all scattered amongst mature Lychee trees.
The primary aim was to provide a comfortable living environment for the design staff who come from all over the world for short and long stays. Though more importantly perhaps, is that it’s created a place for ideas, an inspiring atmosphere for interaction and informal discussion amongst a diverse range of employees. The entrance is a rough cast concrete Moon Gate and a little beyond a bamboo lattice tunnel planted with fruit vines. Winding paved pathways lead visitors on to each of the double story round houses and central Halodome. Moon Gate has obvious references to Chinese history, and the latticed front wall and tunnels echo the common circular and square forms seen in traditional Chinese architecture and decoration.
Built entirely of wood the Halodome uses 80 fully prefabricated modular panels of four different types, bolted together to form a structure that is heavily insulated, energy efficient, and meets the strict Passivehaus methodology “It’s as energy efficient as it can be”, says Simon Laws. “Most building regulations are heading in this direction throughout the world, so the Passivehaus model really tests the design particularly in the extremely humid climate of southern China”. The building uses passive and active systems to maintain a constant and comfortable interior temperature with minimum energy usage. It does this with a high standard of airtight insulation, triple glazed windows with automated and fixed shading, a thickly insulated internal slab and stone floor, and a ventilation system with an efficient energy exchange unit fed through ground-cooled air intake and exhaust ducts. The roundhouse dormitories are constructed from recycled bricks collected from buildings being demolished in a nearby village, and recycled timbers have been used internally for furniture and joinery and externally for the shade structures and stairs. Wastewater from all buildings is treated onsite with a reedbed sewerage system and is reused on the gardens. First treated in a conventional septic tank,the water passes on through a long gravel bed of reedy plants. The roots clean the water over the seven days it takes to pass through.
Studio: Simon Laws Anthill Constructions
Project name: Lychee Garden
Location: Genglou, China
Client: The Halo Group
Typology: Residential Hub
Project Team: Simon Laws, Monica Lin & Kim Huang Halodome – Simon Laws, Kevin Neary &Craig Wilson
Size and total area: 3000 sqm
Photographer: Alex Chomicz