Silver Linings Boutique Hotel, a countryside renovation project

by Hannah Grogan on Aug 7, 2018 in Architecture , Top Story
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One Take Architects complete Silver Linings Boutique Hotel, a hotel renovation in China’s Yixhing County
Photographs: Kang Wei

Silver Linings Boutique Hotel is a renovation project in Bamboo Sea Village in Hufu Township, Yixing County, which is home to a well-known scenic spot in Jiangnan (South Yangtze River Area). Only few of Jiangnan folk houses —traditional folk houses that used to be common in Jiangnan — are left.

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The brief for this project was to establish a premium resort from an existing structure that could fit amongst the disarray of the village. Design began with a study of the area's layout. The location of the building — near the entrance of the main road — gives it more weight in public space than other folk houses. However, the building's front yard had been used as a parking lot. To recreate common space, the firm shifted the parking area across the road and reshaped the landscape of yard.

The architects had fences commissioned from locally sourced bamboo and installed onto the façade to disrupt the elevation's continuity and to relieve the tension of the building closing up on a smaller front yard, and also put up an uninterrupted front wall with simple elements — a white streak on a rubble masonry, capped with bamboo-based composite slate. The wall sets the building apart from its surroundings.

The brief for this project was to establish a premium resort from the existing structure that could fit amongst the disarray of the village

The load bearing brickwork in the construction offered little room for renovation, so any attempt to reshape atmosphere and experience in the stairwell must be done without structural change to the walls. Architects installed several bookshelves there and cladded the roof and bottom of the well with mirrors, creating an illusion of infinity where the bookshelves and stairs seem to continue forever, which has an effect of elongating the well.

Great emphasis was given to the individual identities of windows and individual identities of the different rooms. The original cookie-cutter windows and ill-conceived balconies were transformed into openings of various sizes to create a new atmosphere of space.

Among others, the architects work focused on three things: reshaping the relation of the building with its surroundings, responding to the expectations of the owners and their guests for accommodation, and adjusting and optimising the building's functions.

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