Text description provided by the architects. Fushengyu Hotspring Resort is located in the north of Sichuan at the foot of the Luo Fu Shan mountain range. Tree-capped mountains dotted with temples pleasantly surround the site. It is a place where water has shaped the land. Rivers have carved out the valley and water naturally springs from the earth in warm water wells. It is one of China’s traditional hot spring areas.
From the commencement of our project it was clear that this stunning scenery would be a strong influence on the design concept. Fushengyu Hotspring Resort has been a special project for our office, it has given us the 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.
The key attraction of the resort is an extensive spa with a wide range of different water experiences. This spa building wraps around a hill at the center of the site, overlooking the valley. The building’s shape and therefore the experience of the spa are informed by this hill. As you progress through the stages of bathing, you are offered differing views across the changing landscape.
Most of the pools are outdoors, offering a spectrum of experiences. We have sought to push the theme of water, to express its various forms. It is steam, ice, fish, herbs, salt, different concentrations of minerals. Some pools are still, others whirl, bubble, massage and so on. We have sought to make these conditions real, pure, and positioned carefully in the landscape to make this a completely escapist place.
The building materials have been chosen for their closeness to nature. Many of the walls are made in clay mixed with pebbles, or stained timber. Central to our material palette is the River Stone. This locally sourced stone is a conglomerate of pebbles that have been shaped by the water over time.
Cutting it reveals pebbles of various shapes and sizes and a wealth of natural colors. This stone has been used in a plethora of ways across the resort. It defines many of our floors and pools. We have used them as seats in the pools and benchtops in the villas. We have cast it into the concrete roads and have made our water channels and landscape walls with the same local stone.
The site offers an architectural ensemble of buildings. Apart from the spa building there is a building we named MuWeCo, as it holds a small museum, a wedding hall and conference space. This building has a characteristic vault roof that makes its shape more like a big tent than a big building. It features a dramatic entrance lobby, and on the other side it opens up with a large deck on the valley, overlooking the spa and its surrounding park.
The guest accommodations are a number of different villas. These villas are different in form, while similar in materiality. They are sculptural timber-clad volumes that are designed to offer maximum contact with nature while maintaining the best possible privacy.
The interiors are contemporary and pure in the sense that materials are used in their natural form. The abundance of wood, cork, rugs makes them feel warm and comfortable. Much of the furniture was custom designed by us.
The relationship to the builders in this fairly remote location becomes very unique. A project like this requires a close relationship, they often have to build things that are new to them, and we on the other hand learn a lot from their local building methods.
Fushengyu Hotspring Resort is a unique wellness and architecture experience in a magical place in the Chinese countryside. It has become a personal, hopefully sustainable and loveable place.