A Vaulted Concrete Addition Protects This Sea Captain’s Home
In China, concrete reinforcements and box windows waterproof a captain’s home and cement its connection to the water.
On the densely built Huangqi Peninsula in Southeast China’s Fujian Province, a sea captain sought to add a third level to his home.
But because his house is sited on coastal land, where wave and rain erosion is a problem, water seepage had weakened the building’s structural integrity, making it unsafe to expand vertically.
Spearheading the renovation, Beijing–based Vector Architects solved this problem by adding a 4.72 inch-thick layer of concrete wall to the building’s existing brick masonry.
This allowed them more freedom to design the interior spaces. With the new, structurally sound walls in place, the architects could then reconfigure the existing layout.
They relocated the bathrooms on the first and second floor, moving them from the sea-facing side to the street-facing side.
The reconfiguration allowed them to locate the living room, dining room, and master bedroom along the sea-facing wall for the best views, more natural light, and better ventilation.
New, thick, concrete box windows were constructed to extend the exterior walls, creating furniture nooks such as a bench in the living room, and a desk in the bedroom, which looks out to the sea and rugged coastline.
These thick extruded windows also help prevent rainwater from flowing down the walls and seeping in when it rains.
“The window is no longer a simple opening, but serves as a medium space between nature and the interior space,” says Vector’s founder and lead architect Dong Gong.
To further reduce the possibility of water seepage, a vaulted structure was used for the third floor extension, so rainwater flows down from the roof and drains away.
This vaulted roof structure, which has a geometric top window, creates the effect of a tunnel that frames two seaside scenes—one of the serene and open sea, and the other of a bustling port.
This additional floor serves a multifunctional living space that can be used as gym, a prayer room, or as a guest room for visiting family members and friends.