Photo Iwan Baan
Atelier Zhanglei
Slit House

Zhang Lei copied the massing of adjacent garden houses from the 1920s, but abstracted their form and used concrete instead of gray brick. He changed materials, he says, because gray brick is no longer made in Nanjing, but concrete is. He used strips of wood just 2 inches wide for the concrete formwork, giving the material the texture almost of a fine textile. A zigzagging band of glass cleaves the 2,900-square-foot house in two and brings daylight inside.

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