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Vector Architects : Hôtel Alila Yangshuo

In the heart of southwest China's Guangxi Province, Beijing-based Vector Architects is rehabilitating a former sugar factory into a luxury hotel complex of more than 16 000 square meters, the Alila Yangshuo. A renovation that offers its visitors a unique experience, between past and present.

Built in the 1960 years, this sugar refinery that has long offered its region a great economic prosperity - before its closure more than ten years ago - is located in the heart of a huge valley whose karst mountains formed there 850 millions of years ago attract thousands of tourists. Well aware of the potential attractiveness of the place, the chain of luxury hotels Alila, bought the abandoned factory in 2002 to install its sixth address.

The six pre-existing buildings located north of Yangshuozhen Village, east of the Lijiang River, were able to be conserved and landscaped by the Beijing architectural firm Vector Architects and decorated by Ju Bin, designer of the Horizontal agency Space Design. They are arranged in U around a basin, in the center of which are two pavilions, a library and 24 suites of high standard of 140 square meters, accessible by footbridges. West side, are the reception hall and the old majestic pressing room of almost 15 meters high ceiling, fully glazed, which now houses a restaurant with a capacity of 150 people. To the south, there is a wellness area and a bar in place of the old refining room, and to the east, 12 housing functions for staff.

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Bordering the one and only access road, north of the lot, outside the cloister formed by the built complex, a new longitudinal 3 building houses the 117 rooms of 70 at 90 square meters. In the center of this concrete bar, a monumental wooden staircase serves corridors camouflaged by a facade openwork in cinderblock, inspired by the industrial style of the old establishment.

"In order to create a coherent whole and not to copy the architecture of the factory, we tried to qualify our proposal using contemporary materials and construction methods. " Vector Architects

Testimony of the history of the valley, the remains have been preserved to the maximum by the contractors. Even Mao Zedong's propaganda inscriptions during the late 1960 years were kept. In the center of the pier 50 meters long, formerly used to supply the sugar boats, which remains only the post-beam structure, takes place a pool with an incredible view of the valley and the river.

A fine example of safeguarding heritage, within a breathtaking natural landscape recognized by UNESCO since 2007.

To learn more, visit the website of Vector Architects and the quality of their Ju Bin

photographs: Hao Chen and Shengliang Su

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