This project calls for the creation of a luxury resort with associated dining and recreation areas. The site, situated on a beautiful sloping hillside, is surrounded on three sides by mountain streams, Views beyond the site take in steeply sloped hills, dramatic rocky terrain and green orchards.
For a brief of this type, there are two challenges. The fi rst is the creation of different types of architectural space: intimate, inwardly-oriented private spaces for the villa guests; and dramatic outwardly-oriented spaces for the resort shared program. The second challenge is to make these different architectural solutions coherent and mutually reinforcing so that the whole scheme is harmonious.
We base our solution on the quintessential Chinese archetype: the courtyard house. However, we look to two types of courtyard house: the large-scale collective form of clan housing; and the smaller-scale family courtyard house. These two archetypes entail the combination of two distinct geometries: the circular forms of the collective and the orthogonal geometry of the individual. It is through the use and combination of these two geometries that we are able to create a range of landscaped spaces manifesting linearity, enclosure, variety and intimacy. Most importantly, it is the use of courtyards in both the intimate spaces and larger public spaces that creates consistency and coherence for the scheme as a whole.
The 17 courtyard houses are arranged into a grid formation and are separated by ‘outdoor corridors’ that lead to the shared program areas. The overall roof line of this part of the scheme gently undulates to echo the surrounding hillside topography. Each courtyard house is comprised of three to six large guestrooms arranged over two storeys. The guest rooms enclose three sides of the courtyard with the fourth side made from a simple wall through which guests enter. The courtyard houses – lined with gently curved wooden screens – are designed to create enclosure and serenity. Each guest room is designed to refl ect the grandeur of the traditional Chinese house through the use of polished wooden fl oors, classic furniture and small circular window openings that evoke the traditional wooden screen.
The shared program is arranged into three dramatic circular forms inspired by the architecture of the clan house. Whereas the traditional clan house is inwardly focused the clubhouse is outwardly focused. We achieve this re-orientation by shifting the central courtyard to the edge of the form and by lowering the roof level at this point. These two operations open up views to the surrounding countryside. Of the three clubhouses, the lower level house incorporates the reception, lobby and cafe. The second level incorporates the recreation spaces: swimming pool, gym and spa; with the third level accommodating the restaurant and tea rooms. Each of the circular clubhouses encloses a courtyard which are used variously as an outdoor dining space, a pond and as part of the main entrance sequence.
The proposed scheme, with individual elements that cohere well, is both harmomious as a composition, but is also harmonious with the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The architecture looks to the past for inspiration by evoking the traditional courtyard form at the scale of both the collective and the family. However, through subtle variation of traditional archetypes we have created new architectural solutions that are forwardlooking and modern. Above all, the scheme is one to be enjoyed: a place for families to enjoy time together in peace and with friends in the midst of nature.