Nine dilapidated farmhouses in Guilin, China transform into Yun House, an eco-resort where old terra-cotta tiles meet newly introduced wood accents and pared-down furnishing. Christie Lee writes.
The picturesque Yangshuo county with its sublime karst peaks, Yulong river and bamboo rafts has long been a lure for backpackers and nature fiends. The latest addition to the slew of hospitality choices is Yun House, a boutique eco-resort based in a cluster of nine farmhouses. Shanghai-based design firm Ares Partners was tasked to spearhead the architectural design and renewal scheme.
Spanning 3,000 metres-square, the 23-room resort is located along Li River. The nine farmhouses were partly dilapidated when the current owner took over the site – estimated to be approximately 30 to 40 years of age – and were retro-fitted in response to the needs of contemporary urban living.
While the exterior walls were kept intact, the roofs underwent meticulous restoration. To accommodate electrical conduits and other M&E services, a cavity space was created between the new wall and original ram earth brick wall using studs and gypsum boards.
Each building houses four guest rooms. At the centre of each room is a shared living room. Throughout the space, wood accents brighten up the pared-down furnishings alongside beige and grey tones.
In some rooms, a skylight provides a nice alternative to artificial lighting and imbues the space with a sense of rustic simplicity.
The dialogue between the old and new continues in the tenth farmhouse. Constructed using old terracotta tiles, the house hosts all-day dining, where steel framed, glass pivot doors and windows contrast with locally sourced rough-cut stone blocks and charcoal treated wooden louvers to create an overall rich and tactile aesthetic.
Another challenge confronting the architects was to transform the individual farm units into a coherent whole. Aside from standardising the design and visual cues, a main passageway was constructed to link up the courtyards of the farmhouses.