Thanks SHUISHI for authorizing the publication of the project on mooool, Text description provided by SHUISHI.
SHUISHI: The Kimpton Bamboo Grove Suzhou renewal project is located in the southeast corner of the Ancient Town, Shuangta Sub-district, Gusu District of Suzhou City. The plot stretches 190m from north to south, and 285m from east to west. It is connected to the Zhuhui Road in the south, adjacent to the Nanshipi Alley in the west, and surrounded by the 2,500-year-old Nanyuan River in the north and east. It is close to many representative Suzhou gardens, and only 500 meters in walking distance from the Master-of-Nets Garden and Shiquan Street.
The project covers an area of 43,000㎡, with a gross floor area of about 60,000㎡, of which the above-ground floor area is about 30,000㎡. The plot is separated into the northern and southern areas, with the Zhuhui Huanyuhui commercial block in the south, sizing about 19,000㎡, and the Kimpton Bamboo Grove Suzhou in the north, with an above ground floor area of about 18,000㎡, including 179 rooms of all kinds.
▽项目区位 Project location
▽项目与周边环境鸟瞰 Aerial view
01 缘起：一座老竹辉的风华 Origin: The elegance of old Bamboo Grove hotel
The original Bamboo Grove hotel officially started business in November 1990. It was designed under the impressionistic style of Suzhou architecture. Furnishing high quality services in line with international standards, it gradually developed into a symbol of Suzhou name-brand hotels. It was the first choice of Suzhou people of that time holding wedding banquets and entertaining friends and relatives. It bore unforgettable memories of Suzhou people. It is said that “the old Bamboo Grove recorded half of the history of Suzhou hotels”. It recorded the elegance of an era.
▽竹辉旧址 The old site of Zhuhui
Due to aging equipment and facilities, the hotel suspended operations in 2013. Since then, a new Bamboo Grove hotel has become a deep expectation of the people of Suzhou. The original Bamboo Grove hotel represented the image of the city at that time and had typical marks of the times. How to protect and extend the charms of the ancient city of Suzhou in the urban renewal? How to maintain the characteristic historical memory of Bamboo Grove hotel while injecting the characteristics of the new era?
02 织补古城肌理，延续城市文脉 Restore ancient city textures, extend cultural heritage
At the master planning level, the project proposed to restore the textures of the ancient city, and extend its cultural heritage. In the design of the hotel, it put forward the design strategy to continue the historical features, integrate the old and new buildings, preserve the typical historical memory of Bamboo Grove, and reproducing the characteristic space of Suzhou through the scene creation.
▽新老竹辉与周边肌理关系 Relationship between old and new bamboo and surrounding texture
The design of the old Bamboo Grove hotel was acknowledged as the benchmark of Suzhou hotels for a long time in terms of the hotel grade and supporting functions. Its architectural facade, interior landscape design and space all reflected the cultural characteristics of Suzhou. However, due to the limitation of the times, the large sized old Bamboo Grove hotel was not well coordinated with the surrounding urban textures of the ancient city of Suzhou. The architectural scale was obviously too large. Taking this opportunity of urban renewal, we hope to restore the textures of this ancient city.
▽手绘平面图 Hand-drawn plan
In the urban textures, the new Bamboo Grove hotel extends the characteristics of the surrounding Suzhou ancient city featuring high density and small volume. It adopts the layout of breaking up the whole into parts, and extends the traditionally scaled street space of the ancient city into the project in the figure-ground relationship.
▽场地模型 Site model
▽建筑局部模型 Building partial model
03 再现古城街巷空间，延续江南水乡风韵 Reproduce ancient city alley space, prolong Yangtze River Delta water town charms
In the overall planning, the project inherits the cultural heritage of Suzhou, reproduces the ancient city street space, and forms the multi-level space of “main street — sub-street — alley — square”. The planning structure follows the common “cross” axis of Yangtze River Delta water towns.
▽酒店入口空间鸟瞰 Aerial view
The east-west horizontal axis is the water axis, which is an interface between the businesses and the hotel. It continues the layout pattern of the old Bamboo Grove hotel and Suzhou gardens that are separated by the water and yet remain closely connected. In the old Bamboo Grove hotel, the public area was separated from the guest rooms. In the new Bamboo Grove hotel, the hotel is separated from the businesses by water.
▽酒店东西向水轴鸟瞰 Aerial view
The western section of the axis avails to the waterscape design of the hotel center. Benefiting from the water that runs through the pavilions, visitors can enjoy the life of traditional Yangtze River Delta gardens where “the breeze ruffles the pond, and maidens lean against the rails to listen to the fish play”.
The eastern section of the axis avails to the guest rooms by the water, to reproduce the Suzhou style living space with street adjacent to river. “In the ancient city of Suzhou, you’ll see houses resting on the rivers everywhere.” The elegant leisurely waterside houses and bustling waterfront gather here. Through the scene experience, the project constructs Suzhou-style living space with parallel adjacent alleys and waterways, allowing people speaking soft dialects to feel about the brand-new slow life of small bridges over flowing streams in Suzhou in the new era.
▽酒店清雅闲适的水居客房 Elegant and leisurely water living rooms
The north-south longitudinal axis is the etiquette axis of the hotel, which helps travelers to complete mood transformation from the bustling city to the secluded landscape. The axis starts from the entrance square at Zhuhui intersection, passes through the “pavilion” that integrates the architectural culture and urban life, the “elaborate building” that harmonizes classical architectural culture with the old and new fashions of the times, and a Suzhou style gateway of white wall and black tiles to enter the “camphor court” at the entrance of the hotel.
▽仪式感入口广场 Ceremonial entrance plaza
The “camphor court” is right opposite to the public area of the hotel, a three-entrance courtyard compound, which contains the hotel lobby and 24-hour restaurant. The northernmost part of the axis is the “half-court” for gourmet experience, showing the millennium Nanyuan River nestles together with the hotel in the form of the prototype of a wharf.
▽酒店大堂&餐厅 Hotel lobby & Restaurant
As an outdoor extension of the 24-hour restaurant, the “half court” combines the inner courtyard and outdoor leisure dining area by the river. The 24-hour restaurant area is set as a frequently visited cultural site with characteristic catering service, where people can enjoy the peaceful time against the pink walls and black tiles, amid dusk smoke, sparse rain and dim light, and experience the unique leisure culture of Kimpton Bamboo Grove, while protecting the native culture along the riverside. The “half court” is also an outlet of the hotel to enter the ancient city of Suzhou. From here, visitors need to spend only five to six minutes to walk through the Nanyuan Bridge to arrive the scenic spots of Master-of-Nets Garden and Shiquan Street.
“A garden path excels in meandering than straightforwardness.” Inside the hotel, the long and narrow roadways closely connect the architecture, plants and sights, achieving the effect of “enjoying scenes along the way.” Visitors may enter the deep alley, and go to the intersection of ancient trees, where the line of sight slightly expands, showing a tiny scene of an ink painting scroll deducted of stones and plants against a white wall.
Meanwhile, through the sight planning in the alley, the project enhances the rich visual sense of the space. By first suppressing and then raising the space effect, the foot traffic of the hotel is endowed with a sense of space, as if giving “a sudden glimpse of hope in the dark mist of bewilderment”, and putting a big universe in a small space. This is precisely the spatial art charm of Chinese classical gardens.
▽感受临水而行的闲适生活 Feel the leisurely life by the water
04 延续历史风貌 融合新旧建筑 Extend historical features, integrate old and new buildings
In the Kimpton Bamboo Grove Suzhou project, the architectural style strives to refine the local architectural cultural characteristics of Suzhou at the essential level, while inheriting and developing the essence of Suzhou traditional architecture and, on this basis, seek a balance between traditional and modern designs. Through the modes of modern interpretation and original ancient architecture, it integrates the old and new buildings in the site, to extend the historical features of the ancient city.
The hotel guest rooms and banquet hall area strive to maintain the “Chinese style and new”, “Suzhou style and new”. The facades of the hotel guest rooms harmonize the ancient and modern, take white and wood color as the main tone, and manage to prolong the historical heritage of Suzhou from the aspects of architectural form, color and even details. The courtyard space, blank technique and cultural charm of Suzhou traditional buildings are re-interpreted here in a modern way.
▽传统与现代的融合的酒店客房区 A blend of tradition and modernity in the hotel room area
All the guest rooms are closely related to the outdoor environment. Through landscape planning and private balcony treatment, the project melts the living experience of guest rooms seamlessly with outdoor gardens and waterscape and, by incorporating warm colors and textures, creates a luxury space far away from the bustling city.
▽舒适静雅的客房居住体验 Comfortable quiet and elegant guest room living experience
The banquet hall avails to the long extension of the surface along the Nanyuan River to transform the uneven slope roofs of the ancient city of Suzhou into a continuous slope top, and interpret the spiritual characteristics of Suzhou-style architecture with modern design techniques.
▽酒店宴会厅 Hotel ballroom
At the important spatial nodes of the site and view architectures, such as the hotel lobby, 24-hour restaurant and lobby bar, the project adopts original Suzhou style ancient architectures. The public area of the hotel follows the royal mansion, the highest grade in Suzhou, as the prototype. It takes the three-entrance patio courtyard layout, high walls and wide courtyards to show the subtle ingenuity. The door header embracing the mansion at the entrance fully displays the beauty of wooden structured traditional halls in Suzhou.
The lobby bar borrows the view of the hotel pavilion lake landscape, like a boat docked in a river of green waves, where visitors may enjoy the green lake scenery and the brilliance of four seasons. It takes the artistic conception of “hosting returned guests with wine, and lying silently to watch the mountain”.
▽酒店大堂吧 Hotel lobby bar
05 保留竹辉记忆 再现特色空间 Keep Bamboo Grove memory, reproduce characteristic space
Water is the spirit of Suzhou, and lake rockeries are the soul of Suzhou. The “Pavilion Lake” scene at the center of the project takes inspiration from the mountain and water, and integrates the hotel lobby bar, the waterscape of the hotel center, and the commercial exterior space. It is built under the Suzhou gardening techniques.
The rockery and the ancient pavilion set each other off, which is not only a reference for the spatial landscape construction in Suzhou gardens, but also a continuation of the memory of the old Bamboo Grove. The exquisite rockery and four-corner pavilion landscape in the west pool of the south garden hall of the old Bamboo Grove hotel represented Suzhou people’s unique historical memory of Bamboo Grove. To show respect to this history, the “Pavilion Lake” center reproduces the rockery and the four-corner pavilion landscape. Through the reuse of the Taihu rockery in the west pool of the old Bamboo Grove hotel and the reconstruction of the four-corner pavilion, the project preserves the historical memory of Suzhou people over Bamboo Grove.
▽假山 古亭的再现 Rockery pavilion
In the past, Suzhou people would hold a banquet, listen to music, take a walk with birds, get together, meet, drink tea, and enjoy the scenery in the Bamboo Grove hotel. Today, the new Bamboo Grove hotel turns these past life scenes into experience nodes, and integrates a new “Bamboo Grove life” with a greater sense of life experience. Here, visitors may read a history book, take a pot of tea, enjoy a piece of Kunqu opera, view a camphor sight, stroll in the garden, enjoy the sight of bamboo shadows, have a good meal, enjoy a period of floating life, and further refine the characteristic nodes carrying the daily life experience into “Bamboo Grove Eight Sights”, letting the local residents and tourists who come here to the rebirth of the ancient city of Suzhou!
▽八景井盖平面设计图稿 Eight jing manhole cover graphic design draft
▽竹辉八景长轴展台制作工艺 Zhuhui eight view long axis booth production process
06 关注在地生活 建立系统方法论 Focus on local life, build systematic methodology
Urban renewal projects in historic districts are subject to many restrictions, which are often opportunities to produce unique characteristics on the premise of fully respecting the cultural heritage. The exploration of the historical and cultural connotations of the site and the continuation of the historical memory need systematic studies of the local culture. It is necessary to focus on the daily space and characteristic space scenes reflected in the local life style, and establish a systematic methodology ranging from city design, historical features studies, translation of architectural language, to local scene construction. By integrating the space and related objects carrying the memory into the tour foot traffic, we will eventually reproduce the memory through the living experience of people in the city.
The Kimpton Bamboo Grove Suzhou project has made beneficial exploration and attempts on how to maintain the poetic traditional way of living in large buildings in the Yangtze River Delta area in people’s subconsciousness, how to carry out cultural inheritance and translation of traditional architectural language under the support of the standard industrial system, building materials and aesthetics, and how to create a high-quality daily space with different modes, and achieve free and amazing cultural experience in cities.
▽一层平面图 Ground floor plan
▽二层平面图 Two-floor plan
▽立面图 Elevation plan
Project name: Kimpton Bamboo Grove Suzhou
Project scale: Floor area 43,000㎡ ，Building area 60,000㎡
Project owner: Zhonghai Development (Suzhou) Co., Ltd
Design time: June 2019
Completion time: August 2022
Design unit: SHUISHI
Job content: Multi-professional integrated design
Chief designer: SHEN He
Architectural design: SHUISHI Architecture Design Department VII
Ancient construction design: Suzhou SHUISHI
Landscape design: SHUISHI Landscape Department I, Landscape Technology R&D Center
Guide design: SHUISHI Technology R&D Center
Photography: HU Yijie, Moment studio
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