In the heart of a time-honored village, where centuries-old Anhui-style residences gracefully stand as a testament to the rich history and culture embedded in the landscape, Y.AD Studio embarked on an architectural journey that seamlessly weaves modernity into the tapestry of tradition. The secluded haven they envisioned would be a hidden gem, requiring a meandering exploration through the narrow and winding lanes of the village to reach its tranquil embrace.

Bishan Hotel by studio
Bishan Hotel by studio

As the architect surveyed the site, challenges emerged – the absence of direct vehicle access, uneven terrain, limited space, and less-than-ideal scenery. Yet, amidst these obstacles, a captivating beauty unfolded. The gray tiles, white walls, and stacked stepped gables painted a picturesque scene, accompanied by the distant sounds of conversations, the aroma of food, and the smoke of cooking. It was an immersive experience that inspired a shift in perspective, urging the architect to embrace the inherent charm of the surroundings.

The vision took shape – a modern building seamlessly integrated into the village, creating a secluded space harmonizing with its environment while offering a stark contrast to the vibrant surroundings. Traditional Chinese village architecture, with its disorderly yet vibrant condition, became the muse for a design that embraced the site’s irregular terrain.

The project’s design strategy evolved, incorporating Hui-style architectural elements mandated by local authorities to preserve the ancient style of Bishan Village. The challenge was not to replicate but to inherit the spiritual core of Hui-style architecture, fusing traditional elements with contemporary forms and lifestyles.

The layout initially planned to be modern, shifted to an introverted design that isolated the building from the outside world. Public spaces like the living room and reception area were strategically placed at the center, creating an intricate journey for guests as they traversed swimming pools, stairs, and inner courtyards. This intentional layout aimed to evoke novelty, curiosity, and exploration.

Windows were strategically placed, some with dislocated views to maintain privacy while allowing light and ventilation. Each window became a viewing frame, framing lush greenery and distant mountains. The design ensured that every room offered unique and pleasant views, creating a tranquil and elegant ambiance.

The architecture aimed to transcend functionality, offering a living and hospitality experience that embraced surprise, artistic space conception, and sentiments. The integration of a 200-year-old magnolia tree and the preservation of an ancient well-rooted building in the village’s history fosters a connection between past and present.

Versatility and compatibility were achieved using gray bricks as the main building material, complemented by glass bricks for a light and modern visual sense. Communal spaces were emphasized, fostering social interactions through tea rooms, book cafes, and restaurants designed as open and flexible living rooms for communication.

In the pursuit of harmony, the studio recognized the importance of solitude. Each room maintained independence and privacy, while a rooftop greenhouse offered moments of tranquility. Light played a crucial role in shaping architectural space, with the dynamic interplay of light and shadow creating diverse spatial atmospheres.

Y.AD Studio’s architectural masterpiece emerged as a testament to the delicate balance between tradition and modernity, offering a haven where past and present coexist in harmony, creating an immersive experience that transcends the ordinary.

Project name: Yiyun · Bishan Hotel
Address: No.8, Oucun Road, Bishan Village, Yi County, Huangshan City, Anhui
Design firm: studio
Chief architect: Yan Yang
Project architect: Wu Kejia
Interior and landscape designers: Wu Kejia, Zhao Siyuan
Design team: Yan Yu, Huo Zhenzhong (structure design)
VI design: Yan Yang, Wu Kejia
Construction firm: Huangshan Zhaohua Decoration Design Co., Ltd.
Developer: Huangshan Yiyang Cultural Tourism Development Co., Ltd.
Main materials: gray bricks, terrazzo slabs, laminated bamboo panels, aluminum-magnesium-manganese (AMM) roofing, glass bricks, micro-cement paint, wood veneer
Project area: 1,286.25 square meters
Design phase: December 2020 – June 2021
Construction phase: September 2021 – October 2023
Photos: SCHRAN

All images © by studio. Feel free to browse through the Architecture section on WE AND THE COLOR for more projects from all over the world.