Escaping the Urban Jungle: 10 Exemplary Design of Guesthouses in China

Escaping the Urban Jungle: 10 Exemplary Design of Guesthouses in China

A border city can be classified as an urban agglomeration close to the boundary of two countries, states, or regions. Nowadays, as our cities are rapidly expanding and our transportation modes continually upgrading, the boundary between cities and rural areas has been constantly pushed and redefined.

Today, the rural areas in China are no longer abandoned or rarely visited. Under urbanization, they have been assigned new roles: resorts and guesthouses that offer urbanites a quick getaway from the bustling city life.

The mass migration from cities to the countryside can be witnessed in every major city in China, making the architects and designers rethink the adaptability of our current urban design practices. Where are we heading in the future with these evolving formal and spatial configurations? How can we live between the cities and rural areas? How to design better cities and villages that provide a high quality of life for their inhabitants?


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Below are 10 architectural practices in China that may offer you some insights.

Living with Heritage

San Sa Village / LLLab

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San Sa Village / LLLab. Image © Fernando Guerra I FG+SG

Chinese Architecture Office LLLab has completed a guesthouse situated on a 2,000-square-meter unused plot of land, which was originally occupied by a gas station and about forty minutes' walk from the Mutianyu Great Wall.

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San Sa Village / LLLab. Image © Fernando Guerra I FG+SG

This project aims to provide visitors with a spatial and sensory experience that evokes personal renewal. To embed within the design and appreciation for the site's heritage, the architects extended the existing spatial arrangement of the village, scattering the architectural blocks in line with the typical village plan, while combining those blocks into an integrated whole.

Living with Neighbours

Hotel Far & Near Nanhao St. / kooo architects

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Hotel Far & Near Nanhao St. / kooo architects. Image © Keishin Horikoshi /SS

The renovation carried out by kooo architects turns a seven-story residential building in an old neighborhood in Guangzhou into a guesthouse ideal for young travelers to stay.

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Hotel Far & Near Nanhao St. / kooo architects. Image © Keishin Horikoshi /SS
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Hotel Far & Near Nanhao St. / kooo architects. Image © Keishin Horikoshi /SS

To make the visitors of the guesthouse live free of any visual interruption while enjoying abundant natural light, the bedrooms and the wet area are separated into upper and lower floors, and the double story living room introduces a frosted channel glass façade, which acts as insulation while bringing in natural light and avoiding direct sightline to neighboring buildings.

Home + Homestay / AML Design studio

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Home + Homestay / AML Design studio. Image © Weiqi Jin

AML Design studio has created a homestay house for an 80-year-old authentic peasant father. The architects designed a flower bed by the window, a vegetable plot, a long table for playing chess, and a low stool to bask in the sun.

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Home + Homestay / AML Design studio. Image © Weiqi Jin

The architects believe that the best way to be a homestay is to have the owner often chat with the guests, talk about the local folk customs and the location of the nearby landscape.

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Home + Homestay / AML Design studio. Image © Weiqi Jin

Between the old man’s home and the homestay, there are windows to meet up, and there is also space for each to maintain privacy. This more possibility is the precious feature of the country house, to feel the simplicity and enthusiasm of the villagers, simple and real.

Living with Traditions

Zhao House / Chuantuo Architecture

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Zhao House / Chuantuo Architecture. Image © Kunming tundra photography

Chuantuo Architecture has designed a courtyard house that uses modern vocabulary to communicate with the surrounding rural houses, and draws on the traditional classical architectural space and extracting the relationship of its spatial composition.

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Zhao House / Chuantuo Architecture. Image © Kunming tundra photography
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Zhao House / Chuantuo Architecture. Image © Kunming tundra photography

The red brick, used as the main building material, embodies the traditional craftsmanship and wisdom, which will make the building space more real and pure.

Living with Nature

NanShan B&B Hotel / Priestman Architects

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NanShan B&B Hotel / Priestman Architects. Image Courtesy of Luyi Photograph

Designed by Priestman Architects, the NanShan B&B Hotel that provides six guest rooms can be accessed by a winding path. The site is on steep and fertile terrain typical of Chongqing with fine views of unspoilt hills and indigenous forest, and has tall trees, abundant bamboo and small fields.

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NanShan B&B Hotel / Priestman Architects. Image Courtesy of Luyi Photograph

The designers have kept and adapted an original adobe farm house, rebuilt a newer building behind, added platforms and re-landscaped to create relaxing indoor and outdoor spaces. There are sitting rooms, small dining rooms, six diverse bedrooms, majong and activity rooms designed for families, groups of friends, individuals or quiet work.

Singer House / Aleph-LiangChen

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Singer House / Aleph-LiangChen. Image © Haiting Sun, Chen Liang, Jia Cheng

Invited by the Chinese folk singer Chen Hong, the architecture office Aleph-LiangChen designed a house house on the grassland in the singer’s hometown Erguna.

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Singer House / Aleph-LiangChen. Image © Haiting Sun, Chen Liang, Jia Cheng
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Singer House / Aleph-LiangChen. Image © Haiting Sun, Chen Liang, Jia Cheng

Because the grassland is a place without scale reference, things in the grassland will have their own clear outline. Through the intervention of the black cube in the field, a central black hole with no sense of scale and direction is formed in the field. People will be attracted by this "shadow" and unconsciously want to walk towards it or rotate around it. The building also follows Chen's logic of "fortress" in nature and only opening one landscape window in one facade of his childhood house.

Moutain House of Lew / LEW JOESON

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Moutain House of Lew / LEW JOESON. Image © E-Jay, Chong Wang

LEW JOESON has completed a mountain house with plenty of terrace space as a project rebuilt on the client’s old house site.

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Moutain House of Lew / LEW JOESON. Image © E-Jay, Chong Wang
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Moutain House of Lew / LEW JOESON. Image © E-Jay, Chong Wang

The design coordinates the huge outlook and the small courtyard, with a pent-roof from the yard side up to the front side; in front of the building, several plain stages in different height adjust the land form, constructing territory like bounding wall, simultaneously staying a friendly gesture for neighbors.

Yi She Mountain Inn. / DL Atelier

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Yi She Mountain Inn. / DL Atelier. Image © Sun Haiting

DL Atelier has created a guesthouse which lies beside Ming Dynasty Tombs, with only one hour’s drive from Beijing. This place is convenient for guests to switch from the bustling city life to quiet seclusion time.

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Yi She Mountain Inn. / DL Atelier. Image © Sun Haiting
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Yi She Mountain Inn. / DL Atelier. Image © Sun Haiting

Fresh food and beverage are offered here. We encourage people to cook, to talk, to interact rather than eat from the menu. The environment was designed to inspire humility, tolerance, enthusiasm and other beautiful emotions. On sunny days, this shared kitchen will be activated by sunshine, like an open stage facing the courtyard, the operation table was purposely designed as an island like a hearth, where people can cook together.

Step House / Wonder Architects

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Step House / Wonder Architects. Image © Yumeng Zhu, Chong Wang

Wonder Architects has completed a step house at the intersection of lakes and rivers in Wuhan, as part of the imagination of a landscape city.

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Step House / Wonder Architects. Image © Yumeng Zhu, Chong Wang
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Step House / Wonder Architects. Image © Yumeng Zhu, Chong Wang

The design was inspired by the experience of climbing the hills of Wuhan, and it was confirmed by the Song Dynasty landscape painting "A Solitary Temple amid Clearing Peaks“. On the way to climb, pavilions, pavilions, pavilions, huts, and slab bridges appeared on the hills of Chinese artistic conception. Constituted the "Step" and "Terrace" that people stopped and looked around. The ancients called the rolling hills "Lu Hui", the step house is the named after this.

Dianjiang Bagu·Suji Hotel / 3andwich Design / He Wei Studio

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Dianjiang Bagu·Suji Hotel / 3andwich Design / He Wei Studio. Image © Weiqi Jin

Designed by 3andwich Design / He Wei Studio, a B&B hotel is located at Leijiawan, a natural villager group in Shilu Village, Guiyang Street, Dianjiang County. It belongs to the Moon Mountain Range, with an altitude of about 800 meters, a cool and comfortable summer resort.

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Dianjiang Bagu·Suji Hotel / 3andwich Design / He Wei Studio. Image © Weiqi Jin

The buildings are arranged around the paddy field, forming the momentum of hemming horns in the space and mutual viewing in the vision. This is similar to the relationship between "seeing and being seen" in traditional Chinese gardens. The role of the paddy field is like the water surface in the garden which is not only the main body of watching, but also provides a theme for people's activities in space.

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Dianjiang Bagu·Suji Hotel / 3andwich Design / He Wei Studio. Image © Weiqi Jin

This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Migration. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.


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Cite: Scarlett Miao. "Escaping the Urban Jungle: 10 Exemplary Design of Guesthouses in China" 25 Jul 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/965310/escaping-the-urban-jungle-10-exemplary-design-of-guesthouses-in-china> ISSN 0719-8884
NanShan B&B Hotel / Priestman Architects. Image Courtesy of Luyi Photograph

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