A Vaulted Concrete Addition Protects This Sea Captain's Home
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A Vaulted Concrete Addition Protects This Sea Captain's Home

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By Michele Koh Morollo
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.

Captain's House is sited on coastal land where erosion and heavy rains are common.

Captain's House is sited on coastal land where erosion and heavy rains are common.

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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.

An aerial view of Huangqi Peninsula in China’s Fujian Province reveals the dense built environment.

An aerial view of Huangqi Peninsula in China’s Fujian Province reveals the dense built environment.

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. 

Two balconies increase cross ventilation.

Two balconies increase cross ventilation.

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. 

Thick extruding windows  help prevent rainwater seepage.

Thick extruding windows help prevent rainwater seepage.

They relocated the bathrooms on the first and second floor, moving them from the sea-facing side to the street-facing side.

The kitchen and dining room are on the first level.

The kitchen and dining room are on the first level.

The entrance lobby is part of an open layout.

The entrance lobby is part of an open layout.

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. 

A reading nook on the second level offers a quiet place to study.

A reading nook on the second level offers a quiet place to study.

Windows are used to maximize space.

Windows are used to maximize space.

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. 

An outdoor terrace behind the kitchen supplies an indoor/outdoor connection.

An outdoor terrace behind the kitchen supplies an indoor/outdoor connection.

These thick extruded windows also help prevent rainwater from flowing down the walls and seeping in when it rains. 

The study room and balcony on the second floor look out over the coast.

The study room and balcony on the second floor look out over the coast.

"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. 

A window nook is used as a study desk in the bedroom.

A window nook is used as a study desk in the bedroom.

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.

The living room faces the rugged coast.

The living room faces the rugged coast.

A balcony looks out to the busy port.

A balcony looks out to the busy port.

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. 

The third-level extension's vaulted ceiling allows rain to drain away.

The third-level extension's vaulted ceiling allows rain to drain away.

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. 

A wooden staircase connects the three levels of the house.

A wooden staircase connects the three levels of the house.

A Vaulted Concrete Addition Protects This Sea Captain's Home - Photo 16 of 16 -

Project Credits:

Architecture, interior and cabinetry design: Vector Architects

Structural engineer: China Academy of Building Research