Ruralation Museum Hotel | Tangshan, Nanjing

Is it a hotel with a museum or a museum with a hotel?

Although the Ruralation Museum Hotel near Nanjing, China has been featured in many architecture and design (online) magazines and won best project in the Hospitality Design Awards I could not really find a website or even a booking engine were it is represented. So you might have to make some effort booking it – if it is open at the moment.

The hotel is located in the eastern suburbs of Nanjing at the foot of Zijin Mountain. Here the skull of “Nanjing ape man” dating back to about 600,000 years was found in the early 1990s. The Nanjing Homo Erectus Relic Museum has been built to tell the fascinating story of the ape man and forms one complex with the 39-room hotel.

The hotel has been built in local limestone and white cement for which the region is famous. Lately all cement plants in the area have been closed due to ecological reasons and preservation of this silent, coarse, and solemn land. The museum and hotel are built around three axes which seem to make the architecture disappear in nature. As going up the circular outdoor stairs from one side of the lobby, three indoor and outdoor public places including the roof garden, multi-functional sharing space and infinite swimming pool spread along the axis from east to west. 

The north-south axis is the main motion line connecting the public areas with the guest rooms. The black shallow pool against the white concrete floor connects rooms built with quarrel site stones. The waterscape courtyard of guest room faces the valley cliff, while semi-open-air cylindrical hot spring pools in the courtyard are neatly arranged, forming a vivid boundary of the building. The third, small, axis leads to the family villas.

Overall the vibe is tranquil and minimalist. An excellent place to meditate and contemplate making good use of the hot spring pools.

• size matters: 39 rooms & villas • hotel opened: 2020 • architecture & interior design: AZL Architects (Nanjing)

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