Ambient House

Jinhai Lake, Beijing, China

am·bi·e nt
/a’ambe nt/
1. of or relating to the immediate surroundings of something
2. existing or present on all sides

Designed to be fully present in the environment of Jin Hai Lake, the Ambient House responds to each of its physical and atmospheric surroundings. Conceived as a system with multiple layers, the envelope of the house can be operated and transformed to provide the most desirable and temperate living conditions.

The envelope’s exterior layer consist of a perforated masonry curtain wall that will be crafted from locally quarried materials. Its physical qualities emulate the Venetian blind—providing the utmost privacy, while delicately allowing desirable views of the lake and luscious mountain range beyond to penetrate.

Behind the masonry curtain wall exists an enclosure composed primarily of operable glass folding panels. When operated in combination with the exterior curtain wall, the masonry units’ perforation and orientation allow the summer’s southeastern wind to naturally ventilate the entire building while providing shade. Meanwhile, during the more frigid months of the years, the glass enclosure remains closed to fend off strong cold winds, while the masonry units act as a thermal curtain helping to maintain a consistently desirable temperature.

In addition to the house, the site also integrates a seamless variety of pools, ponds and luscious gardens, composing a vibrant pallet of textures, smells, and visual delights. Both the gardens and the house are interwoven—with the inside and outside engaged in constant dialogue—offering many unique milieux of engagement staged within one of Earth’s most spectacular landscapes.

As its name suggests, the Ambient House engages all sides and all seasons. Architecturally, the space is organized such that the rooms traverse up and then back and forth, gradually ascending past a variety of vantage points. As one meanders from room to room, each space frames a uniquely fresh perspective of Jinhai Lake and its surrounding mountain range.

Design Team:
Raveevarn Choksombatchai, Norbert Wong, Yuxing Chen, D’Genaro Pullido, Sophy Shi, and Kiley Feickert, Structural Engineer Consultant: Claudio Martonffy

Honors and Exhibitions:
Ambient House and 232 Wurster Hall, the AIA Design Award Exhibition, the AIASF Gallery, May – Aug—2014

Ambient House and Grace Street Live/Work was exhibited at ASA 2015 exhibition, Challenger Hall Impact, Bangkok. from Apr 28 – May 03—2015

Design Citation Award in Unbuilt Architecture Category for Ambient House, Jin Hai Lake, Beijing, AIA San Francisco Chapter—2014

Ambient House,—24/04/2014
AIA SF Recognizes Achievements in Architecture and Design, CED UC Berkeley—25/04/2014
Architects shine at AIA gala at SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco Business Times—25/04/2014