The Rock Hotel is located in Shaodong Village, Huyu Town, Yixing City. The village is naturally formed between the canyons on both sides. The design task was to reuse one of the old abandoned buildings and transform it into a hotel. The building site is formed by excavating the mountain and leveling it. It is necessary to consider how to stitch the relationship between the existing building and the surrounding villages in the design and give the site new life. We hope to make as few changes as possible to the old building and return the building to nature: we use a lightweight metal mesh to "cover" the old building, which provides a "path" for the growth of vines. The plants grow freely, the architect leaves, and the rest of the design is left to time to complete.
▲ 项目视频 ©唐徐国
The relationship between architecture and time is a very challenging and speculative proposition, and its unique value is even more evident in today's impetuous and anxious social cognition. As the philosopher Karsten Harries said, ”Architecture is not just about taming space, it is also about people‘s resistance to the fear of time. Beauty is an eternal reality that transcends time.“ In order to explain this point of view, the design team started from old and new memories, unfolded in the replacement of materials, deduced in the logic of the sequence, and sought symbiosis in the game between man-made strategies and nature, leaving a work waiting for time to continue.
The original building is an old office building that carries the memories and emotions of nearby residents for many years. The building volume is larger than the surrounding residential buildings. We need to retain the main structure of the original building while transforming it, and integrate the building into the surrounding natural environment and village. In order to coordinate the shape of the building, it is wrapped with white galvanized mesh.
The white metal mesh also provides climbing paths for plants. In the overlapping of passing away and new life, the building will gradually blend with the plants, embrace nature, return to the mountains, and the building volume will gradually reduce to a suitable scale. In the process of decay and rebirth again and again, the white metal mesh will eventually lose its purity and ambiguity. The engraved rust is hidden behind a piece of endless life, and gradually emerges with the change of seasons, supporting everything brought by time in a low-key manner.
The interior of the hotel has a new look. The reorganization of the functional space and the rhythmic and rational construction of the building facade are directly reflected in the window openings of various shapes and sizes. The white structure effectively extends the interior space and magnifies the depth of the window openings. Under the joint effect of light, shadow, breeze and bamboo forest and mountains, the landscape penetration from outdoor to indoor is realized, and people feel the narration of time and memory in it.
In order to make full use of and respect the inherent characteristics of the site elements, the materials for the new part are mostly bricks, stones and soil dismantled from the original buildings, and the shadow of the bamboo forest is suppressed on the concrete surface. Dialogue with the bamboo forest rock wall in a pure and straightforward state.
The original building is adjacent to the rock wall, and the space in the backyard is very cramped. In the design, it is necessary to think about creating a new relationship between the building and the natural landform. How to use the elements of the existing site to create a poetic corner is an interesting challenge. We opened the "boundary“ of the building on the mountain side, and embedded the original narrow courtyard into the rock wall in an open manner to form an outdoor terrace.
The underground public area was previously used as a garage, which was dark and damp and needed to be renovated to meet future needs.
The rock wall is directly used as a wall to connect a series of emotional spaces that interact with vision and touch. The path starts from the swimming pool, and the skylight is opened to borrow outdoor light, forming a natural ”stone painting“ landscape.
Walking past the bar counter guided by the geometric frame, the landscaped courtyard surrounded by curved glass further magnifies the visual experience, but it stops abruptly in terms of touch. When you walk to the private hot spring area at the end of the path, you need to pass through a narrow rock wall aisle. The process of transformation formed an emotional turning point: “初极狭，才通人。复行数十步，豁然开朗(It was extremely narrow at first, and then it became clear. After dozens of steps, it suddenly became enlightened)”.
The roughness of the rock wall becomes rounded when people pass by or stop again and again in a hurry or at will, and moss and weeds grow freely in the crevices of the rock. In the interweaving of the old and the new again and again, just like every life in this mountain forest, it completes the cycle of life again and again. Architecture, humans and nature gradually become a complete romantic whole in mutual acceptance.
The narrative about the space begins with the small stream that passes through the village in front of the entrance. A narrow bridge is built on the stream. In the morning or evening, you can often see the scenes of villagers gathering together to talk about their daily routines. This is a rare and precious thing in the complicated life The comfort and warmth we want to retain. Therefore, in front of the building, not far from the narrow bridge, inspired by the falling bamboo leaves, echoing the terrain of the mountain forest, forming a cascading downward trend, the “Pavilion of Leaves”was laid out.
The “Pavilion of Leaves” will not only serve as a continuation of the public activity space of the hotel, but will also inject new vitality into the entire village, forming an important highlight of the rural texture, encouraging ordinary and trivial daily encounters to occur here, and promoting a more comfortable lifestyle.
After walking across the narrow bridge, the secret realm of the rock wall based on vertical layered narrative unfolds. The spiral staircase in the hall is the hub of the entire building, connecting the core spaces inside. The main living space and public space are divided into two parts, the upper and lower parts. The first floor and underground floor carry dining, reception, entertainment and some ancillary service spaces.
The guest room areas of different room types on the second and third floors are extended to the outdoors by a white metal mesh. The white grid box surrounded by plants realizes the transition from human habitation to nature, reflecting the unpredictable landscape of the mountains and forests, and contrasting with living. In order to build a unique space resonance, the inner secret thoughts of the audience can be constructed.
We hope that in this building, people will settle down together with the building, forget about time, and move toward the poetry hidden over time.
Spatial design pays attention to the interrelationships in the environment, using natural materials such as soil, rocks, and plants to interact with environmental forces such as wind, water, and sunlight; recycling, restoring, and repairing damaged environments to reimagine ecological relationships; constantly Land uses creative actions to propose various ideas for ecological sustainability and coexistence with nature to draw attention to ecology and nature conservation.
At the beginning of the design, we planned to leave half of it to time, so we simply arranged and organized the space itself, bamboo forests, rock walls, plants, humanities and other elements into the field, and the game between man and nature began. They are long and interdependent.
As in our initial vague conception, the relationship between these elements of the field will change subtly in the catalytic process of time. The surface of the building is gradually covered by plants, forming a fading gesture, as if nature has won in a state of capitulation, but inside the building, the entanglement of the space and the rock wall is portrayed as another tussle between the imaginary and the real, a mutual occupation of the border between man and nature, which seems to proclaim that it is still too early to draw conclusions. It seems to declare that the conclusion is still too early.
As we look back to the beginning of the design, this painting of time is taking shape and continues, without us knowing where it will end.