shenshanyan resort

Year: 2017
Size: 25 ha
Type: hotel
Status: schematic design
Location: Xinzhou, Shanxi, China
Client: Shanshuixingsheng Ltd.

Partner in charge: Chen Chen
Design team: Yangyang Liu, Shoutuo Lyu, Meikang Li, Furui Sun, Muzhi Chen, Yuzhou Peng, Lu Tan

External collaborator: UEA

Shenshanyan is located in the north of Shanxi Province. The total area of intervention is 24.7 hectares. Nested in the Lyuliang Mountain, the site includes an east-west oriented valley and an abandoned small village within. There are lush coniferous forests, vast alpine meadows, gurgling streams and organic husbandry. Within the site 12 public facilities and 28 resort villas including courtyard villa, creek villa and forest villa were designed, integrated in a multilayered ecological masterplan.
Given the steep and diverse topographic conditions, the water runoff and the distribution of water played a major role in informing how and where to punctually widen the existing streams, with the intent to form and enhance, naturally, various landscape features such as wetland, reservoirs, and waterfalls. The three main water runoff trajectories crossing the existing village are implemented into “ecological green corridors”, besides organizing the existing and the new built fabric coordinating it with series of interconnected public spaces, the “corridors” work as buffer zones between the newly formed 5 clusters in which the hotel areas are divided.
The original fabric of the village was systematically documented, modified only when strictly necessary to preserve the original “sense of the place”, a valley atypically left intact, untouched by processes of urbanization and unexploited by intensive harvesting techniques. The vernacular typology of ‘yaodong’ cave house will be restored into public facilities. The village houses are remodeled into 20 courtyard villas with large private garden and panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. Each of the newly formed clusters has a small public square connecting the more private surrounding courtyards. This creates a smooth transition between the public and the private which enhances both privacy and sense of communal belonging.
The positioning of each single public facilities outside the existing village follow the result of slope, runoff and view analysis, in order to provide the most appropriate accessibility, to capture a specific view, and to avoid risks of flooding and landslide. Twelve buildings with different programs infiltrates the dense forest, located on various attitudes and mostly embedded into the topography to minimize visual impact, they help maintaining the landscape in its originary state. Some of these programs such as the observatory and the spa are located high on the slope to guarantee full panorama view, some instead are positioned in more secluded environments, the bridge restaurant is integrates the wetland presence and the meditation house dwells in the woods.
A system of pedestrian loops is proposed to diversify the range of possible excursions and experiences, they are planned to connect the scattered facilities into a holistic program preserving at the same time a sense of privacy and separation. The lobby of the hotel is the programmatic hub, where the 5 trails conflate. The trails cross highly varied spatial conditions, to provide different ways of navigating into the landscape: village alleys, forest meditation trail, creek trail, observatory trail and kids’ exploration trail. Following the principle of “kilometer zero”, both the paths and the buildings try to maximize the use of local and organic materials as well as local construction techniques.
The overall intervention, organized by programmatic and material “transitions” produces a non-obvious balance between “artificiality” and “nature”.