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A hotel to nourish the soul: Angsana Chengdu Wenjiang by CCD

Optimising the natural beauty of Chengdu, in central China, CCD has designed the Angsana hotel in a way that speaks to old school resorts with a horizonal plan stretching outwards from a central hub.

A hotel to nourish the soul: Angsana Chengdu Wenjiang by CCD

Spanning a site the size of a small suburb, the Angsana hotel design emulates the traditional Chinese courtyard architecture of the Qing dynasty. Typical to this style, functions surround a central courtyard while the accommodation is further out. As such, the majority of the 153 guest rooms are physically external to the main building, but connected through materiality and how they use the hotel – and herein lies the complexity. A range of spaces gives an indication of the scope: from restaurants (each with multiple private dining options) and lounges to gym, pools, refection ponds, courtyards and four events rooms catering to 350, 120, 80 and 30 guests.

CCD has navigated this complexity well with a reduced material palette of rammed earth, timber, traditional ceramic roof tiles, stone pavers, block stone walls and bamboo rattan wall detailing. In doing so there is consistency and calm throughout the project that allows the eye an uninterrupted engagement with the hotel as a whole. That said, each room uses the bamboo in different ways with fine screened walls in one area and oversized pendant lamps in another. The palette is harmonious through the various iterations and gives an overall sense of the hotel as continuous and open to exploration.

With temperatures ranging between 37c in August and -6c in January, it was essential the large swimming pool be indoors. To this end, CCD has designed a pavilion-like space with each of the long side walls fully glazed to give guests a verdant view into the surrounding gardens (Shanghai Lacime Landscaping Design Co.).

Related: CCD’s very own multilayered workplace

Complementing this, and bringing water into the design, are six courtyard pools. “Leaving space for nature and sunlight, the hotel brings guests back to the realm of nature by presenting the unique naturalness, simplicity, seclusion and openness of Eastern courtyards,” says Joe Cheng, CCD founder. These shallow expanses of water range from the large outdoor pool that fills the entire courtyard within the architecture to narrow expanses that run parallel to a walkway on one side and dining room on the other.

Each is lined with natural uneven stone to give nuanced rhythms within the reflections, while plantings and stone piles give differentiation between the experience of each. “The landscape and hotel echo with each other to create a picturesque scene, a reflection of the human mood. Every stone, tree, grass and flower injects a natural and agile ambiance, while the wandering clouds and mottled sunlight nourish the soul constantly,” says Cheng.

The hotel is proudly inclusive with facilities for camping along the border edged by the forest. It also accommodates various outdoor facilities, such as Vpark pump track, greenway for cycling, pet park and tennis court. Following the philosophy of “Being Yourself, Being Natural”, Angsana pictures itself as an urban micro-vacation lifestyle experience.  

The poems of Du Fu (712-770), one of China’s most renowned poets, describe Chengdu as being covered by flowers and surrounded by thousands of hibiscuses. The nearby Flower-bathing Brook Park has collected the stone tablets of Du’s work, each engraved by China’s most famous calligraphers, within the 32 hectare forest park.

Following this lead, artworks of blooming hibiscuses are used to welcome guests to the reception desk. “Their red color draws inspiration from the saturated red of hibiscuses after rain, which symbolizes the vitality of plants in spring and expresses the expectation and love for life,” says Cheng.

The guest accommodation continues the aesthetic of the hotel with uncluttered luxurious rooms of natural materiality. In each a large bed is the primary focus with large windows looking outwards to light and trees. In the two storey terraces, the downstairs lounge and bedroom are separated by a slatted screen, which acts to surround each room when closed. Arranged as a loft, the central 6 meter void offers an incredibly elegant and bold understanding of space as luxury.

The inclusion of cultural references in nuanced and subtle with elements such as traditional embroidery worked within the overall aesthetic. The woven bamboo, as a further example, is traditionally executed for a highly contemporary finish. It is however the surrounding natural landscape that CCD have most profoundly responded to with a design that is calm and beautifully engaged with nature.

“Go sightseeing in the gorgeous mountains regardless of the weather conditions; sleep under the moonlight and enjoy your leisure time in life,” says Cheng.


Liu Xinghao, INSPACE Studio

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