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“5L” Concept -- Low Maintenance

Updated: 2021-04-01 16:41

1 Basic Information

Design company: China Architecture Design & Research Group

Design time: 2013-2015

Completion: 2016

Architect in charge: Guan Wujun

Team: Li Qiuchen, Zhu Yanhui, Guan Jieya, Li Heqian, Chang Lin, Dai Min, Zhang Wanlan, Yang Heming, Shen Tao, Liu Yuting

Project location: Northeast of Xinzhuang Village, Changxindian Town, Fengtai District, Beijing

Area: 150000 ㎡

Client: Beijing Zhongchang Heyuan Real Estate Co., Ltd. 

2 Background

The living and life style of farmers in Changxindian village, whose land was requisitioned because of the urban sprawl in recent years, have changed greatly. The changed living environment also influenced their memory of the former villages where they lived for generations. This project is aim to begin construction against this situation and build a new home for these farmers, while adding the idea of sustainable development of a low- cost landscape.


Project overview

As meanwhile, this project also provided a high efficient rainwater filtering, collecting and reusing system to alleviate the problem of underwater insufficiency. Changxindian community uses landscape as the medium to shorten the distance between neighbors and provide comforts for them when they are nostalgic for the nature, the former farming life, and a pleasant living style.

3 Design


Site analysis

By approaching the 5L concept, designers want to not only continue but also improve the site cultural and natural advantages, the 5Ls are Low maintenance, Low cost, Local culture, Local material, and Local memory. Through these 5Ls, the project, on the one hand, desires to be a powerful medium which closely reconnects human and nature, and on the other hand becomes a local ecological sponge city pioneer.

The former natural and quiet farm houses in Changxindian village are resettled by reinforced concrete buildings; some of the newly-built communities are marred by loss of rich historical and cultural environment, cold neighborly relationships, poor ecological infrastructure, potential safety hazards, and other adverse consequences. In addition, Changxindian village is also facing a serious water issue. The polluted runoff caused by continued summer rainstorms and insufficient groundwater supplies are also problems that the design team need to solve.


The design aims to not only continue but also improve the site cultural and natural advantages


Local plants and materials were applied to reduce the cost of construction and maintaining

3.1 Preliminary Study


Wind direction in winter (left) and summer

Wind: After analyzing the wind facts, the design team optimize the distribution of landscape functions in the community according to the local climate and site context, attempting to more scientifically satisfy the requirement for the land use. The community adopts a 'board+tower' layout pattern. It is conductive to ventilation in summer and creation of a pleasant calm-wind microenvironment in winter. Moreover, the special layout helps shield the cool breeze blowing from the southeastern direction since the buildings are mainly concentrated in the south, and the community has higher elevation in the south than north side.


Wind speed in winter (left) and summer

The proposed landscape features a shallow- hill form arrangement. It helps create a local gentle-breeze microenvironment in winter, as well as natural conditions for the residents to enjoy the cool air on higher terrains in summer when the breeze blows from the east to west.


Veranda with waterscape


The bamboo screens provide an experience between solid and void

Light: The designers plan the distribution of space for neighborhood communications, children's activities, physical fitness and exercise, etc., attempting to satisfy the residents' all-year round sunlight requirement.



Public space at the veranda

3.2 Idyllic Landscape


Design concept

The designers resort to modern design ideas to try to create an idyllic and symbolic landscape for the residents. By creating the effects of living in the mountains or enjoying the scenery in the mountains, or enjoying the scenery inside the mountains, the designers intend to provide comforts for residents when they are nostalgic for their original living style and farming experience, or the former farmhouses.

Nestling under the mountains: Respecting existing landform and adopting a north-south layout pattern to fit it.
Gathering space: Various sizes of bamboo corridors aim to recall farmers' memory of their old farmhouses and also reconstruct a neighborhood chatting space for residents.
Creating and enjoying scenery: Applying scattered distribution to illustrate traditional Chinese landscape aesthetic and create scenery including artificial hill springs and falls in the community.



Enjoying scenery


Various sizes of bamboo corridors aim to recall farmers' memory of their old farmhouses

3.3 Site Memory

Old temple: There is one ancient temple in the community which used to be a symbol of the land protector. It embodied local people's religious mentality, social relations, origin and distribution of villages, as well as the intimate correlations between humans. Designers preserved and reinforced the ancient temple and added a green buffer to help it interacted with the surrounding environment more smoothly.
Ancient trees: Ancient trees in the community are put under protection, and the designers maintain other existing trees in the community intact or replanted to more appropriate places in the site. Plants are great memory carriers which can easily bring people's mind back to the old time.


3.4 Rainwater Management

Given the fact that Beijing is the city underfed with groundwater and also likely to be flashed by storms in summer. Designers applied Low-Impact-Development system to build the largest community-class rain garden group in Beijing, integrating the sponge city philosophy into the community landscape design. Wisely using rain gardens, bio-swale, bio-retention corridor, vegetation shallow ridges, and other infrastructures to prevent runoff from road surface pollution, slow down rainwater infiltration speed, and reduce flood risk caused by storms.After collecting and filtering by the LID system in the community, rainwater is reused in the wetland gardens, brooks, and artificial falls.


Rainwater garden design concept


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