Chengdu, located in a wide plain, is a city that has historically been characterized by the broad expanse of flat land it is situated in. In recent years it has slowly started to embrace the mountains and foothills around it. At the core of that, the Shushan mountain with its misty and rolling shape has taken hold in people`s hearts. The Chengdu VUE Hotel and & Resort, designed by RSAA/Büro Ziyu Zhuang, forms a prominent public building in the new suburb “Tianfu Vanke City”. This new hotel, despite being in the city, is talking to, and immersing itself in the mountains. With this space, the hotel embraces the spirit of Shushan Mountain and expresses it in an architectural way.
From a western point of view mountains are mainstays in this world – solid and rigid focal points in the landscape. Far eastern philosophical traditions form a strong counterpoint to that: Mountains move around, and in turn become clouds that weave through heaven and earth. It symbolizes an energy returning to the human world, flowing between crevices and cracks of our existence. We convert these concepts into a floor layout for the Chengdu VUE Resort, thus forming a union of that duality – orthodox and fluid alike.
Based on this picture the hotel`s spatial order runs along an axis of east-west direction, forming a sequence of different yards. Along the way the path is defined by walls, which frame the landscape and form viewfinders, that draw the surroundings into the hotel. Entering the hotel through the bamboos in front of it, the visitor is accompanied by the waterbasins on the ground, and the everchanging eaves that connect the wall and building to the landscape and sky alike.
Arriving at the lobby of the hotel, the different heights of the eaves intersect, and mark the entrance.
While passing through the walls, courtyards and atriums, light and shadow create different characteristics of the space they dominate, giving the guest a constantly changing world around them. The constant intertwining of interior and exterior further accentuates this effect. In its entirety these effects create a storyline, laid out in a way much alike the Chinese scroll paintings. Inside and outside form chapters, separately readable, but unquestionable tied together to one work of art.
The shape and layout of the hotel, with these metaphorical meanings attached to it, work towards allowing people a constant connection to Shushan mountain and the adjacent lake, forming different scenarios with the help of walls and roof.
In Phase I of the project – the hotel – the floorplan is organized around a public central courtyard, around which the circulation flows freely. Along this pathway the eye-level of people is changing, following the roof of the hotel, bypassing the building completely until the courtyard is in sight. From here visitors can see the lake and Longquan ridge in the distance.
The overall project includes several phases, not limited to the hotel, but also including residential functions. Each phase has an own character, but is also following one set of design guidelines. The hotel therefor has an additional role to it: It serves as a showcase for the future development.
The construction of the building is mostly done with simple building techniques. The roof transports a complicated image, while utilizing simple geometries on the inside. This attitude is carried throughout the building, with the result being a compound of modern steel structures and local traditional materials and bricklaying methods. This not only has a financial and construction benefit, it also impacts the image the building is transporting to the outside: Brick eaves are reminiscing of the traditional china, while glass curtainwalls reflect the shift towards more modern architecture.
The aforementioned ideas and concepts are not new to the work of Büro Ziyu Zhuang. Their Szechuan Hotel project uses similar metaphorical pictures of the Chinese scroll paintings to organize different types of hotel spaces to create a new spatial experience. Both the Chengdu and Szechuan hotel´s concept is rooted in the Tongling Recluse project. As a significantly smaller building that villa is not as rich in different scenes, but already predates the theoretical groundwork of the following projects: Integrating architecture, water, trees, landscape and visitors to map them onto each other, forming a new scroll painting.
Learning after Bernard Tschumi and Kenneth Frampton, Ziyu Zhuang has been granted the Master’s degree of Architecture and Urban design in Columbia University, USA. As the member of AIA, Chartered Member of RIBA, the member of Architecture League of New York and as the LEED AP of USGBC.
With the projects such as Tongling Recluse, The Cropland-loop Resort, The Chengdu VUE Resort, Courtyard No.7 at The Drum Tower, Nanjing The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, Jining Culture Center Urban Design, The Top of Cloud, Chamber Church, “The Cloud Maze” and other projects, he has won Architizer A+ Award, World Architecture Festival WAF/INSIDE Design Award – Display Winner, WAN Awards-House of the Year, THE PLAN AWARD-HONORABLE MENTION, German Design Award-winner, ICONIC AWARDS: Innovative Architecture-Best of Best, A’ Design Award, DFA Awards-Gold Award, INNODESIGN PRIZE - winner, APIDA-Gold Award, iF DESIGN AWARD, Reddot award, the BIM Award of China Engineering & Consulting Association.