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Studio A+ realises striking urban hot springs retreat in China's Shanxi Province

by Megan Whitby | 09 Feb 2024
Mu Feng Yue Hot Spring Hotel has opened in Shanxi, China, with design by Studio A+
The boutique hotel and hot springs destination has been realised to offer hotel guests and locals alike a nature-centric urban retreat
Studio A+ was appointed by Shaanxi Fengxi New City Investment & Development to oversee design
The team have created a modern sanctuary with a striking minimalistic design

Architecture and interior design firm Studio A+ has revealed the design inspiration behind its recent boutique hotel and hot springs retreat project in Fengxi New City, Shanxi Province, China.

Founded by Min Wang in 2007, the studio’s vision was to create a property that represents a seamless fusion of city life and nature, providing guests with a peaceful and refined sanctuary.

The architectural approach to Mu Feng Yue Hot Spring Hotel also emphasises harmony with nature and thoughtful adaptation to the surroundings.

The complex is anchored by a sunken courtyard which gives the impression of the structure emerging organically from the land. This area is home to some of Mu Feng’s most striking design features including a Zen-inspired orange glass pavilion suspended over water, reflective pools and sloping water surfaces.

The hotel features six luxury guest rooms, each with an indoor pool, while eight outdoor pools with dedicated showers and lounges are also available to visitors, in addition to dining halls and tearooms specialising in local flavours.

Studio A+ chose to integrate gardens, water features, lawns and seasonal flower seas throughout Mu Feng to create an attractive urban oasis that keeps guests connected to nature.

Wang and her team explained that they opted to work with materials that complement the local surrounding’s natural hues, including rich earth-toned, timber-textured bare concrete.

Studio A+ worked with Xi'an Xilv Tourism Culture Development, Beijing Qinghua Tongheng Planning and Design Institute, Architecture Design and Research Institute of HIT and Ning Field Lighting Design to complete the project.

The firm was appointed by Shaanxi Fengxi New City Investment & Development to create the design concept for the hotel in August 2019, with construction finally wrapping up in August 2023.

Finer details

Studio A+ says the hotel isn't merely a structure; it's an environment crafted through strategic placement of walls that redefine and choreograph the space.

“The walls fold and unfold the spatial experience, integrating the ‘environment’ with its larger context.”

To complete the project, the team incorporated an urban pumping station and a power distribution facility buried on the second underground level. The building was constructed atop a pre-existing structure.

To minimise earth backfilling, Studio A+ strategically positioned the building functions starting from the first basement level, using the landscape to craft a sunken courtyard connected to the ground level via green slopes on two sides.

The team said this approach not only reduces costs for the developer but also demonstrates a profound respect for and utilisation of the site's natural condition.

Moreover, the project features temperature-sensitive skylights that open and close independently to enhance air circulation and adjust the indoor microclimate, infusing vertical natural light into public spaces.

A series of light-guiding tubes also channel daylight to lower levels, promoting energy efficiency.

The rooftop area, abundant with greenery, purifies the air and harnesses rainwater, offering energy savings and cooling for indoor spaces.

Studio A+ says these environmentally sensitive design choices significantly reduce long-term operational costs, reflecting a commitment to sustainable architecture.

Studio A+  China  Min Wang 
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company profile
Company profile: Robert D. Henry Architects + Interiors
Robert D Henry Architects (RDH-Architects) was founded in 1990 in New York City by Bob Henry, known as the “sensuous architect of serenity.”
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