the resort at the end of the yellow dirt road:
BAU543 Emerald Village at Soul Bay

Yanlingwu Village, Fuchun River, Tong Lu District, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China

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Discipline

Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design

Typology

Hotel, landscape architecture

City

Yanlingwu Village, Fuchun River, Tong Lu District, Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province, China

Date

2013 - present

Status

Stage one operational with 9 self contained abodes

Client

Hangzhou Yanlingwu Tourism Development Co., Ltd

Program

Resort hotel, café, eco pool, self-contained apartments

emerald village at Soul Bay: the resort at the end of the yellow dirt road:

rural development in an urbanising China
As China’s working population migrates from the country to the city, only the old and the very young are left to maintain the abandoned villages. To assist the struggling rural economies some of the most beautiful and accessible countryside is being placed under new policies that encourage tourism development. One such area is the Tonglu Fuchun River, Lu Ci Village district.

history
Yan Ling Wu is the last village along a narrow winding road alongside the 300m wide Fuchun River Weir. The ancient town was relocated to its current position on higher ground in 1965 after the creation of the weir.

eco tourism
Soul Bay resort is an eco-tourism initiative where the visitor, the developer and the local people all benefit. The vast majority of village rejuvenation projects in China involve compulsory re-allocation of village inhabitants to another village or town. Soul Bay gives villagers the option of joining the project or not. They join by renting their houses to the resort and then downsizing to a smaller unit within the village. If they choose to stay in their homes, they can contribute in other ways if they wish. Various villagers are already providing a number of paid services including home cooking, cleaning and servicing units, or taking guests out in fishing boats.

the houses
Half of the existing 36 houses on the site have traditional rammed earth walls with timber pole structure, rustic architectural expression, and symmetrical facades with proportions determined by primitive technologies. The remaining houses have concrete frames with a variety of architectural expressions including Zhejiang’s renowned aspirational post-modern polychromatic tile surfacing.

BAU’s renovations to the traditional buildings expose the hand hewn timber pole frames and reveal portions of the rammed earth perimeter walls. The large houses are subdivided into smaller self-contained units and modern services are provided.

BAU’s new interventions follow a modernist, functional, logic. New windows are aligned with new internal circulation to avoid dead-end internal views; balconies slide beyond walls and cantilever to obtain multiple views; and windows are stretched horizontally and occasionally vertically to focus on landscape views important to the new inhabitants.

an abstraction of inclusion
These new buildings respect, value and learn from the simple and rustic materials, the modest and functional architectural expression, and the simple relaxed village lifestyle. However, they do not copy the existing buildings. Importantly, they abstract the positive elements but also include contemporary solutions to issues of amenity. This is not an abstraction of exclusion (like that of late modernism) but an abstraction of inclusion (that embraces a cultural pluralism).

Consequently, the housing provides traditional and contemporary forms; old spaces and new spaces (seamless connections between inside and outside – an experience all too rare in both urban and rural China); formality and informality, and rustic and contemporary textures, finishes, and colours.

downsizing
Villagers choosing to downsize and rent their houses will move to a single level apartment in a horizontal building that steps back over two floors. Large terraces in front of all apartments provide private and semi-public open space for their continued village farming activities. A new community plaza provides the villages with a place for celebrations and activities.

sustainability
Energy efficiency, healthy interiors, and minimising impact on the site are integral to the project design. PV solar panels are integrated into most roofs. Solar thermal technologies, where hot air is circulated to heat a thermal bank, are being tested on the first house. External insulation is added to all buildings, and all windows are replaced with double-glazing. Sweep fans, non-off-gassing finishes and solvents, and cross ventilation produce comfortable, healthy, and energy efficient interiors.

resort programing
Slow food, health, exercise, organic farming, ecological education, and connection with local people and culture form the initial programs of Soul Bay. Activities include swimming in eco swimming pools, hiking and camping in the hills, riding on road and trail, and organic farming. A café with a fireplace provides the social heart of Soul Bay where single travellers can meet and groups can dine. The emergence of various themes, characteristics, and programs will undoubtedly continually refresh the project.

landscape
The landscape design approach in Soul Bay is holistic and inclusive, which surprisingly, is still uncommon in China. The existing wild and indigenous vegetation is maintained and enhanced. New varieties and species are introduced to enrich it and make it more useful for humans and native wildlife. It is crucial to enhance the quality of the existing soil, which is the basis of all life, here, everywhere. So, all organic matter produced in the village is composted on wicking garden beds and turned into high-grade manure by earthworms.

There is a vast network of pathways on site, either existing or newly created. The main circulation in the village is based on looping pathways, which are well integrated with the existing walkways leading in the surrounding dramatic forests and mountain terrain. The central village is barrier free and easily accessible by wheelchairs and prams, etcetera, in order to make it comfortable for the old or disabled as well as for young families with small children.

In Soul Bay all farm products are produced locally, using hardy local, or well-adapted plants and animals, and traditional farming techniques. Visitors can be actively involved in the process by assisting all farm work or by freely sewing vegetable and flower seeds throughout the village. In doing so the visitors contribute to the richness, diversity, and beauty of the rural landscape.

conclusion
This architecture for this project is in no way selfish, arrogant, or ignorant. To respond in that way would destroy the very qualities of the region that visitors find so appealing and enjoyable – their reasons for visiting. This project consists of a generous, respectful, and well informed architecture of small scale and subtle interventions. An architecture that adds to the spirit of the place while providing the level amenity that visitors have come to expect in the highest quality resort accommodation.

2015

Education

Hospitality

Mixed Use

Nanjing

Residential

Sports

2011

Jiangyin

Office

Retail

2005-2010

Shanghai

2000-2005

Melbourne

Public

Urban Design

Kyneton

Culture

Healthcare

Playgrounds

Public Landscapes

Urban Landscapes

Hotel

Suzhou

2014

Hangzhou

Structures & Pavillions

Wuxi

Planning

2013

2012

Fuding

Shaoxing

Chongqing

Kunshan

Office

Wuhan

Hotel

Healthcare

Cixi

Ningbo

Meishan

Canberra

Jingzhou

Private Landscapes

Chengdu

Hospitality

Culture

1990-2000

Xiamen

Residential

Hopetoun

Caofeidian

Huai’an

Xi'an

Xinyu

Mixed Use

Retail

Sports

formal teaching and informal learning:
BAU540 Gaochun New District Kindergaten to Year Nine School

an exercise in robustness:
BAU333 Jiangyin Huifu Office Tower

effortless complexity: learning from water-town:
BAU222-2 Shanghai Qingpu Zhujiajiao Commercial

no longer but not only:
BAU213-3 Jindi Yunhu Market

actualizing the virtual:
BAU 213-2 Jindi Yunhu Sports and Activity Center

geometry, history, art, craft, iconography, and pragmatics: an exploration of intention, coding, narrative, and meaning
BAU021 Olinda Green + Public WC

there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in:
BAU015 Jan Juc House, Victoria, Australia

BAU009 house in the sky

surreal adjacencies:
BAU019 Marymount Residence, Guest Accommodation, Stable + Office

mini-city of culture:
BAU590 Nanjing Pukou Haiqiao Community Service Center

keeping a low profile:
BAU 214 Suzhou Qingshan Hotel Phase I

positive space, human scale, and a blue-green net:
BAU 213-1 Jindi Yunhu Housing

dis-integrated guest houses :
BAU495 Pine Pillow Retreat

don’t look at me, don’t look at me:
BAU436 Nanjing Jiangning Demonstration Kindergarten

new buildings, old topography:
BAU424 Suzhou Qingshan Hotel Phase 2

don’t just re-use the typology, improve it!
BAU310-1 Hangzhou Changbanxiang Housing

defining the perimeter, programming the centre, inhabiting them both:
BAU238 Town Plaza, Xinqiao, Jiangyin

turning outside-in:
BAU199-2 Wuxi Fudi Forte Parktown Sales Pavilion

beyond PODS, networks, and nodes:
BAU552 Chengbei Urban Design project, Nanjing

podium and bill(ding)board:
BAU547 Nanjing Yaxi Town Central Hospital

inner sanctuary, outer crust:
BAU546 Nanjing Gaochun Qiqiao Hospital

an excessive minimalism:
BAU478-A U-Park Incubator, Shang Qing Huai, Nanjing

a plane of reference:
BAU474 Nanjing Zijin Gaochun Science and Technology City

rips in the fabric by place:
BAU461 Nanjing Tangshan Tourist Resort South District

other ideas of hospital:
BAU446 Fuding Hospital

architecture AND terrain:
BAU445 Suzhou Hi-tech District Cultural Center

crust: in-between and on the edge
BAU426 Shaoxing Jianhu Keyan Tourist Resort Planning

eco urbanism:
BAU425 Chongqing Eco Valley City

microcosm:
BAU348 Kunshan Hyper Complex

beyond the picturesque:
BAU347 Kunshan White Pagoda Park

don’t just re-use the typology, improve it!
BAU310 Hangzhou Changbanxiang Housing

building a community not just housing:
BAU302 Shanghai Ludi Baoshan

upside down program – ‘private’ circulation becoming ‘public’ circulation:
BAU254 Shanghai Wai Gao Qiao Culture Centre

extra-large private space as public space:
BAU199 Parktown, Housing, Fudi Forte, Wuxi

mini-me:
BAU197 Jindi Sanlin Pavilion

staggering:
BAU191 Wuhan Cuiwei Housing

urban camouflage:
BAU227 Hangzhou Sports Centre

positive space, human scale, and a blue-green net:
BAU213_1 Jindi Yunhu Housing

the resort at the end of the yellow dirt road:
BAU543 Emerald Village at Soul Bay

critical regionalism and abstraction:
BAU487 Nanjing Yaxi Citta-Slow

hospital for the ill, health care for the healthy, aged care for the elderly: BAU469 Zhaoxiang Hospital

communities as schools and schools as communities:
BAU408 Networks School Zhangjiang

tear open the package: BAU247 Qingpu NGS Supermarket

urban sponge:
BAU324 Cixi Commercial and Culture Center

lyrical islands in pragmatic seas:
BAU530_1 Nanjing Gaochun Su-Wan Interchange Hub

fractured enormity:
BAU281 Chongqing Huarun

ring roads AND peripheral parks:
BAU243 Shanghai Ring Park

simple box OR 3 points in space – you choose:
BAU204-2 Ningbo Wanda Office

many utopias:
BAU129 Xinhu Pearl City Housing Development

a close family:
BAU125 Zhejiang Power Company HQ

stretching, squeezing, bending, trimming:
BAU550 Huanglong Xigu Urban Design

BOTH networks AND objects:
BAU497 Wyndham Cove Eco Sub-urb

ethics, democracy, difference:
BAU470 towards a socially sustainable Canberra

warp and woof:
BAU460 Jingzhou Museum

sustainable technologies for clean living:
BAU396 Nanjing Residential

network of learning:
BAU341 Yushanwan School

not in galleries, but a way of seeing:
BAU338 Jingqiao Ramp Restaurant

shopping sandwich:
BAU321 Jiangyin Wuxing Commercial Centre

celebrating the collective, the intimate, the sustainable, and the local:
BAU312 Suzhou School

21st century Ponte Vecchio:
BAU287 Shanghai 2010 World Expo Bridge

antidote: not another ghetto city:
BAU285 Chengdu North Central

at last …finally …some diversity:
BAU282 Jindi Sanlin Office

recycling and beyond
BAU264 Jiashan Lu Apartment Block

an assemblage of difference:
BAU256 Shanghai Hongqiao Performing Arts Center

streets as shelters, bars as amphitheaters, landscapes as playgrounds:
BAU235 Jinqiao Community Bars

reduce, reuse, recycle:
BAU220 Shanghai Sculpture Space

binary oppositions defining a field of operation – all we wanted was a park:
BAU122 Xiamen International Exhibition Centre

the hotel as microcosm of the city:
BAU018 Marque Hotel

…very strange:
BAU016 Penny Lane

the beautiful and the extraordinary:
BAU013 Hopetoun Bush Resort

a dynamic yet stable vehicle:
BAU510 Suzhou Tram Co. Headquarters

palimpsest:
BAU486A Jiangyin Docklands Park

innovation both inside and out:
BAU433 Zhangjing Nobel Lake Park & Network

exquisite corpse
BAU416 Genetic City Caofeidian

landscape becomes urban design becomes architecture:
BAU390 Duolan Dong Dong Mixed Use Complex

BAU386 Symbiotic City

repetition and difference:
BAU384 Kunshan Pavilions

no longer drowning – waving:
BAU339-2&3 Suzhou Creek Promenade

yet another point of view:
BAU339-1 Suzhou Creek Serpentine Park

ordinary not heroic, symbolic not monumental:
BAU318 Hangzhou Xiaoshan Government Headquarters

woven threads:
BAU234 Jiangyin Arbour Park

private precincts, public networks:
BAU226 Pudong Yangjing

creative networks:
BAU224 Chengdu Fenghuangshan

maximize commuication and cross fertilization:
BAU208 Linping New City Centre

more than just a technopolis:
BAU206 Hangzhou Xiasha New City Centre

a second network embracing history, smalllness, and complexity:
BAU193 Chengdu West New District

a park for everyone and everyone in their park:
BAU189 Hongqiao Park

disorder – not randonmness but beyond order:
BAU182 Chengdu East Village

mosaics of teaching, networks of learning:
BAU149 Huai’an Tertiary Education District

walled cities within a walled city:
BAU147 Xi’an High-Tech Precinct CBD

co-existence without incompatibility:
BAU138 Jiangxi Xinyu Networks City

clarity and unpredictable adjacencies:
BAU119 Jinqiao Sports & Leisure Centre

space-time conflict:
BAU544 Shanghai University Campus

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