What do you get when you bring together a hotel brand known for producing design excellence to traditionally less-traveled locales, a gorgeous, geographically-unique location, and an architecture firm known for designing some of the most extraordinary cultural buildings in the world’s most populous country? I present to you, Alila Yangshuo by Vector Architects.
As I have written about here previously, adaptive re-use projects have become more and more common in China in recent years. Rural revitalization projects in particular offer a unique opportunity for architects to flex their design muscles outside of the dense urban centers where many of them typically operate. Vector Architects transformed a beautifully-preserved, 1960s sugar mill into Alila Yangshuo – a 16,000 square meter luxury boutique hotel on the banks of the Li River in southern China’s Guangxi Province.
In the seven-minute video below, photographer and filmmaker, Hao Chen, has captured the project in a simple, but powerful way – placing us as viewers deep within this majestic setting. The Yangshuo region is famous for its unusual karst mountain formations, whose verticality play nicely in contrast to the more horizontal ensemble of hotel buildings. Chen’s combination of stationary vantage points with simple camera movements complements the architecture and setting perfectly. The inclusion of subtle, environmental sounds creates a feast for the ears as well as the eyes. Enjoy.