The Snow Apartment is located in Zhangjiakou, Hebei, a famous skiing and tourist resort in North of Beijing, China. Design by Penda Architects, the residence is an emblem of its name, a seamless and illuminated interior which symbolizes the snow and the shape-shifting nature of melting snow in the changing weather in spring.
White Plastered Shells
Seamless uniform space is created by undulated timber slates create a back-layer, on which local craftsmen hand-plastered the white, rough wall-finish.
Accurate details in the apartment articulates a unique spatial experience, all result of efficient local creftmenship
The curvatures resolve into the ceiling and flooring with amazing ease and least resistance making it an exquisite element in the house.
Using the local knowledge of the craftsmen’s technique of how to use plaster for double curved walls (instead of CNC milled panels), gives the apartment a very natural and honest ambience.
Introducing a warm and natural element into the apartment, the white shells are partially cut by wooden boxes, which provide areas for relaxing, communicating and displaying artwork.
The shells flow through the space, creating hybrid conditions of the hallway, the public areas and the private rooms.
All walls are raised 5cm above from the wooden floor deck and backlit to create a floating ambience.
The walls are lifted up 5cm and backlit which creates a clear differentiation between the white shells and the wooden fir-floor.
The alcove lighting further accentuates the running curvature of cuts and bends in the ceiling and walls.
The white shells are punctured in with wooden finishes to create built-in space for storage and showcasing objects and art work.
With only 2 material finishes, the house interior features an exquisite modern minimal design for spatial living experience.
The upper parts of the shells are partly cut and back-lit by LEDs as well. Therefore the ceiling becomes a field of ambient lighting.
A sense of harmony and uniformity runs through out the spaces, making it a never ending, seamless design feature, and associating a unique identity with the space.
The design of the apartment is inspired by a melting snowfield in spring, when nature slowly revives from winter and offers a contrast of cold and warm, white and colored.
This atmosphere is translated into architecture by hand-plastered, white shells, which cover walls and the ceiling and create a seamless space, which guides visitors naturally through the apartment.
The curved walls guide the guests to a spiral staircase, which leads to the upper floor of the apartment, offering a more formal living and dining experience with direct access to a large roof terrace.
The architect has brilliantly employed only two materials to create a unique space, and not even once you get bored as the monotony is broken by bending curvatures and seamless cuts.
Overall ambience is kept white resembling that of snow, and pockets of wooden fir peaks out as when actually snow melts and reveal the ground beneath.
Large landscape windows reveal the snow-scape outside at the same time features privacy for the users.
Singular contrasting color is added here and there by the architect, to bring in freshness and break from the monotonous color/material palette, yet it compliments the interior well.
From the architect’s themselves: “The apartment is inspired by a melting snowfield in spring, when nature slowly revives from winter and offers a contrast of cold and warm, white and colored. This atmosphere was translated into architecture by hand-plastered, white shells, which cover walls and the ceiling and create a seamless space, which guides visitors naturally through the apartment. The curves of the interior respond in a very direct way to the outside landscape of mountains and valleys.”
Three basic elements are consistent throughout the space, a) the white shell with its continuous curvature which bends and molds into different volumes in each space, b) the light wooden deck floors and furnishings which carve out of the white shells to create a balance and add depth to the spatial quality and c) ambient light used as an imminent subject matter which illuminates the backlit walls and accentuates the alcove lit floor decks. The overall ambience results in a warm cozy, relaxing, yet unique exquisite and modern space. The layout of the apartment features 7 bedrooms, a large cloakroom and storage for the skiing equipment, several bathrooms and a large living room in its center. The curved walls guide the guests to a spiral staircase, which leads to the upper floor of the apartment, offering a more formal living and dining experience with direct access to a large roof terrace.