Fusing the house and garden in a new Chinese villa

New house and grounds

Sheshan, China

Samuel H. Williamson Associates

A Chinese developer had purchased a large tract of land to build “timely and timeless” homes for newly affluent residents of nearby Shanghai, and sought out architects across the US to design unique homes on each of the 79 lots.  We were given a set program of the usual spaces plus a second “presentation” kitchen and servant quarters.  Aware of the strong historical relationship in Chinese design between interior rooms and garden spaces, we shaped the house and grounds to weave the two together.   Using Feng Shui principles, we included numerous moving water features (an auspicious symbol of wealth) and incorporated a constantly offsetting path of travel through the grounds and interior, preventing the dissipation of positive Qi energy and encouraging reflection on the present moment and not the destination. Two opposing wings embrace an entry court and private patio on either side of the central glass living space.


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