The Lychee Garden - A hidden paradise for Timothy Oulton's design team
The Lychee Garden by Timothy Oulton Studio has been designed as an accommodation and hosting precinct for staff, designers and customers visiting and working at the Halo Group’s workshops in Southern China. Located in an existing orchard and vegetable garden, the project comprises of seven double storey villas, with a 60m2 private suite on each level. Known as the Roundhouses, these villas surround a central communal gathering space: The Dome Home. This prefabricated multi-use timber structure is designed to ship anywhere in the world in three containers, part of a concept conceived in 2011 the Dome Home is the original Halodome 12 prototype.
Echoing traditional Chinese gardens, visitors arrive at a cast concrete Moon Gate entrance. Bamboo trellised tunnels planted with trailing vines lead towards the Dome and further through the lush vegetable gardens along paved pathways to the individual Roundhouses. The curved plan of each building nestles amongst the mature trees ensuring very little disturbance of the existing orchard with only three removed during construction. These round houses use reclaimed local bricks and timbers for the exterior shells and combine local construction techniques and vernacular design elements with newer ideas and materials to create high quality retreats that are sensitive to their surroundings.
The central Halodome is the hub for all guests. Lined with reclaimed timbers and paved in natural sandstone the main space is furnished with circular Shabby sofas under the soaring domed structure, while under the mezzanine and spiral staircase another leather wrapped Shabby creates a comfortable den for chilling out and watching TV. A fully equipped domestic kitchen adjacent to a large marble dining table with a central carrousel is ideal for sharing family style meals. An outdoor covered terrace is designed for year round alfresco dining with a BBQ and fire pit allowing guests a fully immersive experience of the natural beauty of the gardens.
Simon Laws, Project Designer for the Lychee Garden, explains; “Often, the best ideas come during down times, when people – designers – congregate and just discuss things that are not necessarily related to design, that is what this company is trying to encourage”
Certified to German Passivhaus standard, Halodome uses sustainably sourced FSC & reclaimed timbers to create a soaring column free space that can be internally configured in many different ways. When combined with modern high performance and other recycled materials, Passive energy design principles that take careful consideration of sun control, ventilation and insulation, can create buildings with smaller ecological footprints and ongoing energy cost savings.
Continuing this theme, a reed bed sewerage system was installed to treat all onsite waste water, the final tertiary stage of the system uses a long shallow gravel bed densely planted with Ginger Lilies. The roots filter the water over the 7 days it takes to flow through the pond, at the end the water can be reused on the orchard.