Boat Rooms on the Fuchun River

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A creatively designed retreat that celebrates an ancient local tradition.

Built on the banks of the Fuchun River in Jiande, Hangzhou, China, the Fuchun New Century Wonderland Resort welcomes guests into a breathtaking landscape. Considered one of the most beautiful areas in China, this southern region of Changjiang features mountains, dense forests, springs and rivers, as well as a large lake. The Design Institute of Landscape and Architecture China Academy of Art recently designed new accommodation for the Fuchun River resort, drawing inspiration from the local customs. More exactly, from the ancient tradition of boat-living. “For several hundred years between the earlier Ming dynasty and the middle Qing, a water tribe, namely “nine fishing families”, had resided at the riverside and created a unique culture of boat-living life,” explain the architects.

Partly nestled among mature trees, the five rooms seem to float on the surface of a lake. To protect the local environment and to also ensure a simple and efficient construction, the team designed the rooms as prefab structures. Made in a factory, the elements were then assembled on site. Inspired by the shape of a boat, the structures feature arched shapes and a complex build.

Steel pipes fix the main body of the buildings onto the bottom of the lake. They provide stability, help to enhance the views, and minimize the impact on the land, all at the same time. Three-hinged arches connect to two symmetric semi-arches that feature North American yellow fir girders. Thanks to these three hinges, the team reduced the stress on the bent timber frame. Finally, red cedar hanging panels strengthen the structures. On the roof, wooden shingle tiles in three different sizes create a rustic design and boast rich textures.

Each room has a spacious terrace that leads to the hallway/lounge near the entrance. Here, a wall of French-style windows offer uninterrupted views of the lake. The skylight above the bed floods the room with natural light while providing the opportunity to admire the sky. This Fuchun River resort is the kind of retreat one falls in love with and returns to over the years. Photographs© Aoguan Performance of Architecture.

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