This neighborhood in Nanjing, China is full of beautifully weathered old stone homes, but one grey structure stands out from the rest. The Concrete Slit House from AZL Architects is a visually stunning piece of architecture: a bit of ultra-modern cast concrete in the middle of traditional masonry homes.
The structure was cast using five centimeter wood planks that give its exterior a deceptive wood grain appearance. It appears to be ripped into two pieces right down the center and the void between filled with long windows that let in ample natural light and cross ventilation.
The three-story home extends below grade and can be accessed via a sunken courtyard. A wooden deck extends from the walls of the home to the outer edges of the property, giving just enough room for a thin line of greenery that partially masks the deck from surrounding homes.
Inside, light wood and white walls give the home a sense of exaggerated space. Concrete elements extend indoors in select places, bringing in a slightly rougher aesthetic to offset the smooth, airy interior.
More info from the architects:
“Concrete Slit House is a contemporary concrete residence enmeshed within a quiet Kuomingtang-era neighborhood in central Nanjing. The entire structure and roof are made from concrete pressed into a custom mold, handmade from five-centimeter horizontal wood strips to remain in scale with the adjacent century-old brick buildings. The slit in the concrete creates transparency as it responds to interior circulation, and provides different programs with differing interior heights & elevations, thus crates in upper bedrooms half floor volume shifting for its privacy. The living room spans over two stories, the dining area extends over one and half levels, and remaining bedrooms and studies occupy single story spaces.”
“Even though China consumes almost half of the world’s supply of concrete, and Nanjing has seen thirteen-hundred new concrete high-rises in the past twenty-five years, Slit House is the first honest concrete building in Nanjing.”