Enlightenment Valley was a commission to create a resort village in a hilltop near Nanjing, China. Inspired by some of the core principles of traditional Chinese urbanism, such as a play between inside and out, public and private, with a basis on the courtyard as a fundamental building block, as well as an integration of vegetation and water in the design, the project nonetheless reinterprets these principles to propose a modern communal village for the twenty-first century.
The idea of the crescent, while drawing on references to a handful of well-known ancient sites, began with the topography, fitting neatly between two hillsides in a way that would minimize excavation. Using a new water source at the peak of a nearby hill, water trickles down through the crescent, collecting in various basins that permeate the units, and filling in a series of ponds retained by small dams, each of which contains a shared common space on an island. Following alongside the crescent lakes is a continuous sheltered corridor that serves as a circulation spine for all the units.
The basic residential building block is a 50 square meter volume offering one internal space and in some cases a roof deck or interior mezzanine. Each block is complemented by an outdoor courtyard of equal size. Like a traditional courtyard home, each room is essentially an autonomous building. Residences of various sizes are created simply be aggregating varying numbers of blocks.
designers: Adam Sokol; Constance Vale