The large stock and area of residential buildings in Guanzhong area, Shaanxi province, pose a challenge for their renewal in rural revitalization. The red brick dwellings in Ezi village, Xianyang city, takes advantage of rural environment, draws on the local spatial mode of narrow halls and square houses in dwellings and the technological archetypes of loft, common wall, flush gable roof for drainage, etc., integrates modern technologies of sun space, lighting and ventilation well, internal wall insulation, solar photo-voltaic power generation, three-cell septic tank, etc., saves costs by employing local craftsmen, using local materials and techniques, and designs localized modern Guangzhong new dwellings.
The 14th Five-Year Plan clearly proposes that rural construction should be placed in an important position in socialist modernization, according to which the rural living environment is to be improved by upgrading rural infrastructure and the quality of agricultural housing construction.
Different from existing rural dwellings that blindly copy the construction mode of urban residential buildings and neglect local features, the red brick dwellings in Xianyang Ezi village, which integrate local red bricks and traditional crafts with requirements of modern residence, combines the living environment, functions and green performance of the dwellings in design and construction, are not only innovative inheritances of the spatial and technical prototypes of traditional residential dwellings in Guanzhong, Shaanxi Province, but also beneficial practices in improving the green and livable performance of dwellings.
The project is located in the flat terrain of Ezi Village, Xianyang City, Shaanxi Province, with 35.1 meters long from north to south, 9 meters wide from east to west, bordered by the village road and large areas of farmland to the south, existing dwellings and house sites to be built to the east, west and north. The red brick dwellings inherit the spatial system and slope roof form of narrow hall and square houses of traditional local dwellings, rebuild regional pride with traditional architectural culture and establish the resonance of nostalgia.
The door is located in the southeast corner of the site, combined with modern living mode. The hallway is a single floor, facilitated with toilet, storage area and other auxiliary functions; the principal room has two stories, one ridge and two slopes with the vertical axis layout of centralized symmetrical three-bay house, the door is in the middle, sun spaces in both sides to the south, neighbored by bedrooms, living hall and other living spaces. Service spaces such as kitchen, dining room and resting room are located in the middle, centered by a high narrow hall with an air corridor.
A terrace is designed on the north of the second floor to create a multi-layer space experience; A complete courtyard space is created between the principal room and the hallway to dry wheat, corn and carry out daily activities. The north of the principal room is the backyard, with straight flight stairs connected to the second-floor terrace.
Since ecological environment is closely related to life quality, the project focuses on the research and application of technologies to improve the livability and green performance of modern rural dwellings, and investigates the influence of natural conditions such as wind, light, water, etc. on dwellings. By adopting passive design techniques such as ventilation, lighting, thermal mass, insulation, rain and pollution separation, etc., the project improves indoor thermal comfort and helps dwellings adapt to seasonal changes.
Ventilation: The narrow hall runs north to south is conducive to form air pressure ventilation; three sets of double height spaces above the flat kitchen, narrow hall and toilet form heat pressure ventilation, strengthen air circulation, and improve the indoor air quality of deep dwellings.
Lighting: The south of the principal room is generously glazed, high side windows combined with roof overhang increase the lighting area, improve indoor illumination, and avoid summer solar radiation at the same time; three sets of double-height spaces above the kitchen, narrow hall and toilet use skylight natural lighting to improve the dark space of traditional dwellings.
Thermal mass and insulation: The two-story attic (loft) design inherited from traditional local dwellings is a storage and free space all year round, and a buffer in winter and summer, which insulates the main activity spaces such as bedrooms and living room in the first floor, etc. The south-faced passive sun space in the first floor also adjusts the temperature of adjacent bedrooms and the living room.; Meanwhile, internal insulation is adopted in external walls to preserve heat, which exhibits the craft of outdoor plain brick wall at the same time.
Rain and sewage separation: The toilet is experimentally designed to involve two separated functional spaces. The urine pool is placed indoor，and toilet for solid excrement is designed to the west of the hallway. Connected through the sewage pipeline, excrement is discharged into the three-cell septic tank underground which is regular cleaned-up, near the entrance wall of the dwelling. Kitchen and shower sewage is drained into a three-cell septic tank backyard, and then discharged into the dry well through artificial wetland. Meanwhile, since the house yard and back yard are equipped with puddles, connected by rainwater pipes, since rain is discharged to the road rainwater collection system through puddles and rainwater pipes , the problem of rural toileting is solved in different treatments.
Rural area has complex social network and unprompted tradition, thus, the design of rural dwelling is hardly influenced by commerce or mass consumer culture, this guarantees lost cost and exquisite construction details at the same time. Constructed by local craftsmen with local materials and traditional crafts, the functionality and artistry of red bricks are exhibited by the cross masonry, "plum blossom pile" and herringbone masonry, as well as the stripe paving, sand filling and wet joint method, etc.
The exposed cabin frame built of old wood guarantees its stability, and complements with the red bricks. Besides, stone-like coating protects the plain brick walls against rain erosion and alkalization; Besides, cement mortar surface layer is adopted on the brick courtyard walls and roofs to prevent cracking caused by rain and snow in winter, a defect of traditional materials and technologies.
The improvement of living quality comes from a thorough understanding of life. As the key space for daily communication in Guanzhong traditional dwellings, the hallway is facilitated with red brick benches against the external wall in the main entrance for daily communication among neighbors. The yard inside the dwelling is a place to dry crops in farming seasons, an internal rest space is designed under the tree. Brick stoves and internal cabinets in the kitchen enable local traditional firework cooking and heating, and prepare for the use of natural gas in future.
It is within the region that local architecture can be contentiously developed, the characteristics can be maintained, and regional diversity can thus be formed. The red brick dwellings in Xianyang adopt the construction mode of manual and semi-mechanized rural infrastructure team, which is organized and supervised by local craftsmen. Excluding the purchase cost of furniture and sanitary appliances，the total cost of the project is about 312,000 yuan, about 1296.8 yuan per square meter.
Avoiding the old-fashioned urbanized design and excessive consumption of resources, the project develops the construction mode of integrating culture inheritance and green development, identifies the most basic and practical goal in building design, establishes a residential construction system customized for the region, and provides reference for the construction, reconstruction and expansion of dwellings of the same type.