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Nine Farmhouses Receive A New Lease Of Life

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.

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BY Janice Seow

October 22nd, 2015


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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In some rooms, a skylight provides a nice alternative to artificial lighting and imbues the space with a sense of rustic simplicity.

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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.

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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.

Ares Partners
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