Yule Mountain boutique hotel, an old-fashioned farmhouse operated by a peasant couple in Taihuyuan, Lin’an, Hangzhou, had accumulated excellent reputation during over a decade. However, they could barely stay afloat under the price of 200 Yuan per person which including board and lodgings in recent years. The huge variation of reception volume between the off-season and peak-season as well as the low-quality guests also challenged the couple. For these reasons, the owners decided to transform the physical space of the farmhouse, expecting to enhance profitability and improve living experience for the guests, making the Yule Mountain farmhouse to be a boutique hotel from the farmhouse.
Continuation Studio, after accepting the invitation of the proprietors, launched the renovation project with architecture and interior design.
During the renovation, we keep the location of the original main entrance unchanged and hid it behind a screen wall between the terrace and the road. After that, we transform the steps that were originally perpendicular to the terrace to a staircase that ran parallel to the edge of the platform, and place it under the modern wooden frame. This wooden porch lines along the provincial road replaced the existed traditional wooden pavilion and the detached restaurant, integrating the entrance steps, the pavilion and the new office on the left side of the entrance，becoming a 30-meter vast scale horizontal surface. Continuous timber window system unifies the different functions in the corridor from the elevation; Rafters extend from wood corridor to external space also indicated the depth of this surface, lowered the visual height of the main building. The eaves under the continuous windows effectively reduce the visual height of the entrance façade, and the height difference of the terrace is implied from the elevation.
Entering the porch, the direction of the step-up staircase and the inclination of the roof further strengthen the raise of the terrain and the height of the landscape. The strepitant atmosphere near the provincial road has been greatly improved after several obstacles including the shadow wall, the base of the wooden frame and the stone wall in the middle of the staircase.
Following the step, the skylight overflows through the continuous windows on the outside of the corridor. The provincial traffic is blocked by the lower wall under the window, only leaving the sound of the creek ringing in the ears, guests gradually formed excursion feelings during the climbing, filtering the scenery of inner courtyard through the grilles inside the corridor, projecting out scattered lights.
The design strategy is to transfer the main entrance of the four-story main building from the north façade to the east gable, a triangular area circled by the wooden corridor, the two-story annex and main building. From the staircase to the gable, the circulation has a non-orthogonal turning point, as a result, firstly the deflection between the scarp and the gable is integrated with the sequential boundary of the circulation; Secondly, the external space on the terrace is also divided into the triangle courtyard and inner courtyard with water, which possess distinct ambience and scale respectively; Furthermore, we set up horizontal windows for peeping the inner courtyard from corner on the short boundary where the triangle courtyard and the inner courtyard overlap. Though the tranquility and beauty is unreachable provisionally, it is frozen by those horizontal window frames, alluring guests to approach the yard.
After passing the triangle courtyard, along the gable of the main building, entering the corridor inside the building, guests can see a gloomier space only with reflected sunlight on the floor. Turning right to the reception, standing in the center of the lobby and looking at the courtyard, visitors would face an open and clear sight, totally distinct from the shadowy corridor space: a placid water spreads out under the eaves of the lobby, in which the cloudy top of mountains behind three walls and bamboo forests, the long pavilion on the left side, and the homogeneous timber grill of the waterside pavilion (horizontal wooden frame when seen from the provincial road) are reflected, and a sublime landscape picture is created in visitors’ view. The lowered outer-eaves, the symmetrical columns and the bluestone platform present a peaceful living atmosphere with a sense of ritual.
At this point, the whole circulation in the entrance climaxes after hiding, turning, rising, pausing, peering, escaping, piercing and releasing.
With the redesign of circulation, the mountains, courtyards and the main building present themselves to the guests with various landscape views. The exquisite light and progressive narrative scenes emphasize the rise of the terrain, greatly enriching the mountain space with affluent information. From the uproariousness of the provincial highway to the corridor frames of stairs; from the mountain scenes in the side of the provincial highway to the peaceful inner courtyard; from the shading corridor to the mountain scenes, these noticeable alterations in sound, weight, height, and light tantalize the guests, arousing their curiosity and expectation. The multiple turnings also lengthened the psychological distance from the entrance to the main building. Then, an independent small world was initially established in the mountains.
Project name: The Overall Renovation of Yule Mountain Boutique Hotel; Architects: Continuation Studio; Design Year & Completion year: 2016-2018; Chief designer: Jiu-Jiang Fan, Wen-Ting Zhai; Design Team: Team Members: Kai Yu, Kai-Xiong Chen, He Huang, Ting Li, Fu-Dong Sun, Shuang-Er Lu, Run-Jin Dong (intern); Location: Taihuyuan, Lin’an, Hangzhou, Zhejiang; Area: Approx. 1100 m2; Photographers: Yi-Long Zhao, Hong-Fei Zhao, Jiu-Jiang Fan; Lighting design: Shanghai Pinko Lighting Design; Decoration design: Shenzhen Wenhua Design; Structure & construction: Xiao-Wen Neng’s team;