The layout and aesthetics of Ruff Well Water Resort, designed by Aim Architecture, is deeply influenced by the natural and unruffled setting of North Sichuan
Located at the foot of the Luo Fu Shan mountain range of North Sichuan rests a serene and composed setting with tree-capped mountains dotted with temples pleasantly surrounding the site. The rivers carve out the valley while the water springing from the earth in hot water springs define the vast land. As an outcome, China’s traditional hot water springs and the natural setting bear a strong influence on the design concept of Ruff Well Water Resort.
This resort was a special project for Aim Architecture since it gave them a rare opportunity to merge planning, architecture, landscape and interiors and the chance to shape a total concept based on the land, nature, and in this case, water.
An extensive range of water experiences including the hot water springs define the resort’s plan and layout. The spa building wraps around the hill at the centre of the site, overlooking the valley. The building’s shape is thereby defined by this hill and as you soak in the water, you are offered differing views across the changing landscape.
Other than a spectrum of activities for relaxation, the building materials also contribute to the soothing environment. Most of the wells are made in clay mixed with pebbles or stained timber. The principal material used in this project was river stone; this locally sourced stone is a conglomerate of pebbles that have been shaped by the water over time. The stone in its varied shapes, sizes and colours have found its use in a lot of spaces. It has been used in concrete roads and also for the water channels and landscape walls. Inside the spa wing, small stone-lined pools are set at different levels across the stepped floor and screened by curving grey walls.
The site offers an architectural ensemble of buildings. Apart from the spa building, another building called the MuWeCo holds a small museum, a wedding hall and conference space. The building has a characteristic vault roof which is shaped like a big tent. Inside, the draping roof form is lined in planks of timber and floors covered in pieces of river stone. It also features a dramatic entrance lobby and on the other end, opens up with a large deck on the valley overlooking the spa and its surrounding park.
The guests are accommodated in a series of timber-clad chalets that vary in shape and scale, some with single-pitched roofs while others with flat tops.The interiors of the villas are also designed in a contemporary fashion with the use of locally-sourced materials in their natural form. The interior was designed with the use of abundance of wood, cork, rugs to create a cosy setting for the residents.
Aim Architecture has evidently striven to bring the influencing natural factors to the forefront, to display the symbiotic confluence of nature and architecture that runs deep in the design of Ruff Well Water Resort.
Location: Mian Yang, China
Design Team: Wendy Saunders, Vincent de Graaf, Leonardo Colluci, Allan Yin, Claudia Juhre, Zoe Zhu, June Deng, Andrew Irwin, Shelley Mock, Dongker, Liat Goldman, Toni Pavic, Ted Zhang
Client: Onesun Ltd
Area: 24,000 sq m
Budget: 350 million RMB
Completion Date: October 2014
Photo Courtesy: Dirk Weiblen
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