The Crossway House sits on a bluff overlooking a lake at the edge of a forest. This bucolic setting is part of the Wangshan Academy, an academic campus that extends from the neighboring town of Jinhua in Zhejiang Province. The Crossway House is a residence for faculty and guests of the university and serves as a model home reflecting the institution’s values of living in harmony with nature by occupying a small footprint on the land keeping the site as pristine as possible.
To organize the project, the crossway is employed to blend together site and home. The underlying triangular grid organization allows for multiple orientations of structure and program. While the main volumes of the house are organized along one axis of the grid, the spaces inside rotate traversely to orient towards the views of the lake and mountains while simultaneously inviting the landscape and breeze to flow through the house.
While the building’s organization and materials respond to the site and local culture, the building can also be read through its contradictions. From some angles it appears transparent as openings line up and allow views through the building. But from other angles it appears opaque when the brick piers align in sequence. This oscillation between solid and open, between brick and glass, creates moments of obscurity where the true character of the house emerges, a rationality of purpose combined with something more enigmatic, something that does not really resemble a house.