Tsingpu Retreat — Yangzhou, China
The impression of modern China tends to be a little skewed by the steely, impersonal landscape of skyscrapers in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. How refreshing it is then that designers and architects like Neri&Hu Design and Research Office are showing how it’s possible to conceive a contemporary Chinese vernacular that looks and feels thoroughly of its time and place.
For the 20-room Tsingpu, the Shanghai-based practice overlaid the original footprint of a neglected warehouse near Yangzhou’s Slender West Lake with a calm grid of low-slung grey-bricked pavilions, courtyards and internal decorative pools that call to mind, without any hint of cliché, traditional hutong houses.
The rooms are calm oases lined with terrazzo, white oak, walnut and steel, and dressed with furniture and lighting designed by Neri&Hu specially for this project. This sense of peace is accented by the public spaces – including an art gallery, theatre and tea house – that are framed by broad timber overhangs that catch the light and slivers of sky.