Situated amid the mountainous landscape of Yangshuo in China, architecture studio Fabersociety has designed a new boutique hotel called the ‘GEEMU Resort’. The project sees the transformation of an existing structure to create a welcoming and child-friendly space. The architect has also strived to form a building that resonates with the community by exploring the local culture of the burgeoning area.
With the opening of a high-speed train station in early 2016, the area of Yangshuo has quickly become a popular tourist destination in Southern China. Hotels and guesthouses have been sprouting up alongside the Lijiang river and many local residents have since built concrete houses in the hope of leasing them out to visitors.
In the context of GEEMU’s conception, when Fabersociety initially arrived at the site, they were struck by the banality and low-efficiency of the existing building. Located in close proximity to the hillside, the imposing concrete volume contrasted with the small rural houses that surrounded it. With this in mind, the architect’s strategy was to accept the existing conditions and establish a co-existence with the new intervention.
Constrained by the structure and changing conditions of the property rights, the main part of the building has been maintained as a living space, as originally envisioned. New programs protrude out in smaller boxes. These smaller gestures intend to establish a dialogue with their surroundings and break up the scale of the monolithic volume. The façade is finished with granite-stucco coating, while the boxes are earth-colored to mark their difference.
GEEMU doesn’t seek to create a standardized residence and service building, but a new comfort zone in between a hotel and a kindergarten. The interior is defined by a palette of white surfaces, exposed concrete and timber finishes, which together create a contemporary and inviting place. The architecture aims to inspire curiosity and interaction through details. In the center of the volume, a large atrium provides a light-filled space for children to play, while elements such as the slides give the building a fun and innocent atmosphere.
• 9 rooms • hotel opened: 2019 ✅ free Wi-Fi ✅ free parking • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk