Assistant Architect - Chapter 94

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Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling

Chapter 94: Feeling


Unlike the idyllic Chinese farmhouse exterior, the interior is carefully renovated.

Since ZhangSiyi is more in touch with design trends, he can easily tell that the insidewas designed by a professional that specialized in interior spaces. The specificstyle of the interior was hard to describe as there were both traditionalChinese details, Japanese-style places and modern designed areas. Even though therewere modern elements in contrast to the traditionally designed ones, theinterior space was very harmonious.

For example,in the kitchen area, there was a large glass panel that was hanging from theceiling to help isolate kitchen fumes. Even though the implementation of thewall was high-tech and modern, the panel itself has a matte finish with anancient Chinese landscape sandblasted onto the glass.

Except forthe visible kitchen behind the glass, the layout of the house is sparse withonly two areas to accommodate guests. One area is fashioned traditionally witha Chinese square table and other traditional elements. The other area has anelevated platform with a passage that surrounds a large rectangular table. Inthis way, guests can feel like they are sitting on a Japanese-style tatami matwithout having to remove their shoes.

Althoughthe place setting welcomed them, no one sat down. Old Chiang intended for themto sit at the large rectangular table as there were five place settingsconsisting of bowls and chopsticks there. Since they weren\'t it a hurry to sitdown, they wanted to continue exploring the interior.

Dressed inrough clothes, Old Chiang came out from behind the glass to greet everyone: "Youare free to look around. Upstairs is the tea house. I\'m still preparing thefood and it will take another twenty minutes. Old Four can bring you upstairsin the meantime."

Zhang Siyi:“…” Old Four? Who? Gu Yu?

“Don’tworry, take your time. I’ll take them up for a cup of tea.” Gu Yu took offhis jacket, hung it on the rack near the entrance, then flipped a switch. The questionof \'up-stairs\' was answered as the glow of the lamps hanging down from above, showedthe way up.

The edge ofthe staircase was surrounded by thin, vertical wooden slats. In the dark, atfirst it looked like a partitioned wall, however when the lights were turnedon, the light coming through the gaps in the slats made the wall glow makingthe wall look like a glowing harp.

Theymarveled at the staircase sculpture as they followed Gu Yu up. On the second floor,there were three tea tables separated by wooden frames and curtains. A widevariety of small handmade sculptures decorated the room. In addition, one wall waswholly comprised of bookshelves from top to bottom. There was a poetic quote inbeautiful script written on another one of the walls.

Gu Yu ledthe group to sit at one of the tables then went to pick out a tea. Zhang Siyiwent over to the round window and looked outside. From this point of view, hecould see, like a glittering pearl in mud, the moon reflected in the largewater tank that was in the backyard. By looking at the picturesque scene, ZhangSiyi momentarily forgot about his troubles of the outside world.

Rummagingthrough the shelves, Gu Yu picked out leaves and a tea set on the shelf. He putthe water on to boil and asked them to sit.

Gu Yao wasthe first to inquire: “Brother, who was that? Your classmate?

Gu Yu: “Well,we lived in the same dormitory.”

Gu Yao: "Howcome I haven\'t met him?"

Gu Yu: "Hewasn\'t in Haicheng for the reunion last Christmas."

Zhang Siyisat down and asked: “So he also studied architecture?”

Gu Yu noddedand smiled at him: “This place is his own handi-work; from design toconstruction to decoration.”

He Xueyingwas surprised: “He built it himself?”

Aside fromGu Yu, everyone else was shocked. Indeed, in a modern city with a cleardivision of labor, it seems like an incredible feat to be able to build a houseby yourself from the ground up.

Gu Yu said:“Since he is a licensed architect, this small building isn\'t difficult. Youjust need a few carpenters to help build it."

Zhang Siyiclosed his wide-open mouth: “With this talent, how can he not doarchitecture?”

Gu Yaonodded: “Yeh. Why did he open a restaurant if he is so good at architecture?"

Gu Yuproposed a question: “An architect can’t open a restaurant? Everyone hastheir own pursuit. He didn\'t want to design buildings seriously. Instead, hewanted to open a restaurant. He is free to choose what he wants.”

As Gu Yufinished his statement, Old Chiang came up with a plate of fruit and handed itto Gu Yu. He smiled at them: "Drink tea first. I\'ll call you when ready."

Everyonethanked him and watched Old Chiang hurriedly go down the stairs. He Chengtianfrowned and asked: “Since this place is so remote, does anyone ever come?"

Gu Yuraised an eyebrow: “Are we not people?”

HeChengtian: “I don’t mean that! I mean your classmate; how can he makemoney?”

Since enteringthis eatery, everyone can’t help but worry about whether or not the restaurantis profitable and whether it will be open for a long time, but only HeChengtian voiced his opinions outright. The restaurant was like a lost treasureand with its joyous discovery, it makes one want to share with others in hopesthat they will also appreciate it.

Sipping thetea slowly, Gu Yu sighed with relief, then looked up at He Chengtian. He said:“If I told you, Old Chiang did not open this restaurant for profit, wouldyou believe me?"

Obviously, HeChengtian does not believe it: “Not for profit? How can he live?”

Gu Yu selecteda piece of fruit from the dish and started peeling it. He said: "Is it not easyto live? Since he is an architect, he has his own means of earning a living. Weare all grown-ups here. Why are you worried about how he lives his life?" Gu Yuput a few slices in his mouth and chewed. Swallowing, he continued: "Opening arestaurant is something he has longed to do from a young age. Making money wasn\'tthe point. He likes to entertain guests and treat them as friends, not as customers."

Even though HeChengtian listened to the words spoken by Gu Yu, he completely did notunderstand the meaning of doing such a thing.

Gu Yu thoughtHe Chengtian wouldn\'t be able to understand so he didn’t bother explaining itfurther. He poured a cup of tea: “Less nonsense, drink tea. I think you,who has only thought about money will never understand the \'feeling\' forthings.

HeChengtian was angry: “What \'feeling\'? I think it\'s just being pretentious.”

Gu Yupatiently explained: “Its something you want to do for your own sake evenif it seems useless to others. It is a satisfaction of heart and mind and not monetarygains and losses." Gu Yu paused suddenly then turned to He Chengtian andsmirked: "Maybe for you, the value of money itself is probably your \'feeling\'.In the eyes of Old Chiang, money is not what he pursues."

HeChengtian: “…”

Zhang Siyiwasn\'t sure if He Chengtian understood what Gu Yu was saying, but he did. Gu Yuchose this place to eat in direct opposition to the values He Chengtian sorudely expressed earlier at noon. Gu Yu wanted to directly show He Chengtian adifferent kind of value and lifestyle. Also, Zhang Siyi finally understood themeaning of \'personal feelings\' that Gu Yu once answered to Fu Xinhui aboutarchitecture months ago in KTV.

If someoneasked him why he was doing architecture in the future, Zhang Siyi would alsosay it was because of \'personal feelings\'.

The five ofthem freely chatting and by the time they were drinking the fifth cup of tea, fromdownstairs, Old Chiang called for them to come to dinner.

Now feelinghungry, even after drinking probiotic black tea, they couldn’t wait to eat. Gatheringaround the table, they sat down and were surprised to find the area was hot.Several asked if there was a heating blanket. While serving vegetables, OldChiang laughed and told them that it was the work of the northeast style Kangheating system. As he explained, Zhang Siyi also realized they weren\'t sittingon Japanese-style tatami mats, but the Kang heater. Not expecting it in a placewhere many facilities in Haicheng didn\'t have heat at all, they were able toenjoy this special treat.

As OldChiang placed the food on the table, he introduced every dish in detail; wherethe fish came from, about the chickens caught back home, from which mountains harvestedwhat vegetable and, even the pork chops that were directly ordered and shippedfrom a friend\'s farm.

Even thoughthe food was common, steamed squid, sweet and sour pork ribs, spring bambooshoots, stewed chicken soup…., the plates were carefully and artfully plated. Eachdish conveyed Old Chiang\'s values and aesthetics in life. He also poured them aglass of wine that Old Chiang personally made. It stands to reason, since Gu Yubrought them there, the taste will not disappoint.

It\'s nowonder that birds of a feather flock together. Although the decoration andlayout of this house is quite different from Gu Yu\'s villa in Yuanshan garden,it gives Zhang Siyi a pleasant cozy feeling similar to that of Gu Yu\'s home.

After drinking, Zhang Siyi and He Chengtian couldn’t help themselves from eating multiple bowls of food. The girls also put aside their restraint and ate to their hearts content.