The Well House Boutique Hotel / ATLAS

The Well House Boutique Hotel / ATLAS

Night view. Image © Rui ZhuFacade. Image Courtesy of ATLASFireplace. Image Courtesy of ATLAS© Rui Zhu+ 38

  • Architects: ATLAS
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  440
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2020
  • Photographs Photographs:  Rui Zhu
  • Architect In Charge:Jenny Chou
  • Design Team:Jenny Chou, Troy Lee, Catherine McMahon
  • Client:The Well House
  • Country:China
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© Rui Zhu
© Rui Zhu

Text description provided by the architects. Dali Village is a 600-year-old Dong village in Guizhou that has largely kept its traditional culture intact. The old wooden buildings, rivers and wells, and terraced rice fields all reflect the harmony of a much older way of life. The Well House is a new boutique hotel that aims to situate itself contextually in the simple and austere lifestyle of the village. The challenge was to find ways to update the traditional methods of building with contemporary amenities and evolved design without losing the integrity that makes Dali what it is.

The well. Image © Rui Zhu
The well. Image © Rui Zhu

The hotel is perched on the mountainside high-up in the village, directly looking down on an ancient well. Like all the structures in Dali, it faces the center of the village where the Drum Tower resides.  From its perch, it offers a panoramic view of the village. Modern elements such as large windows to take advantage of the views, while still attempting to keep the rhythm and of the neighboring structures so as not to disturb the overall skyline.

Facade. Image Courtesy of ATLAS
Facade. Image Courtesy of ATLAS

In Qiandongnan, the southeast region of Guizhou, traditional wooden buildings have largely been preserved and continue to be built today. Still, modernity has managed to creep in— one way being that concrete is used for the ground floor of the building. The challenge then is to develop a building language that can negotiate the differences between the two and create a unified whole.

Window. Image © Rui Zhu
Window. Image © Rui Zhu
Fir window. Image © Rui Zhu
Fir window. Image © Rui Zhu

The traditional building has intrinsic knowledge about how to deal with local climatic conditions in clever yet, simple ways. Elevating the structures on poles, open fire-pits, and even using a bit of smoke help traditional southwestern houses relieve the damp in winter. The goal of the hotel was to elevate the comfort inside the building through the use of energy-efficient heating and weatherproofing. Another issue is the way sound is carried throughout the wooden house through the thin partitions and floors. Soundproofing was added to the construction to try to give a bit more privacy and serenity to space. To keep the construction as sustainable as possible the whole system of the building was designed to make air-conditioning unnecessary — instead of cooling the building through passive methods. The facade was designed with wind scoops to capture air from the valley and ensure ventilation in the space clearing out the sultry feeling of summer.

Bar courter. Image © Rui Zhu
Bar courter. Image © Rui Zhu
Pillar. Image © Rui Zhu
Pillar. Image © Rui Zhu

The material choice is local, in particular the use of cedarwood the region is famous for. Bricks saw as lowly due to their common usage in building pig sheds, were elevated here in their deep earthy feel to something luxurious. Burnt and blackened bricks were hand-chosen to give a textural sensuousness to the first floor.

Livingroom. Image © Rui Zhu
Livingroom. Image © Rui Zhu
Bedroom. Image Courtesy of ATLAS
Bedroom. Image Courtesy of ATLAS
First floor plan
First floor plan
Bedroom. Image © Rui Zhu
Bedroom. Image © Rui Zhu

As the village finds a bridge to the future and looks to tourism and exchange to do so, the hope is that The Well House presents thoughtful solutions for merging the old with the new. By rooting design in the local aesthetics and material culture—the hope is to see Dali Village find a sustainable path forward that honors and values the past.

Night view. Image © Rui Zhu
Night view. Image © Rui Zhu

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Project location

Address:Guizhou, China

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "The Well House Boutique Hotel / ATLAS" 08 Dec 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/952691/the-well-house-atlas> ISSN 0719-8884
Exterior view. Image © Rui Zhu

贵州侗寨井上民宿 / ATLAS

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