Imperial Opulence: Within the courtyards of The Temple House, peace and prosperity are redefined in contemporary ways

The Temple House confidently expresses traditional Chinese elements in a contemporary manner, where rich details are woven together to infuse luxury and history into its courtyard-inspired design.


Project: The Temple House | Design: Make Architects | Location: Chengdu, China | Photos: The Temple House

A Chinese icon that symbolises wealth and status, Siheyuans or courtyard houses were homes of the affluent in ancient China. In the Temple House in Chengdu, affluence and aesthetics definitely take the lead, but Make Architects has given it a modern twist, using their signature architectural language to translate the rich history behind Chengdu into a unique multisensorial experience for its guests.

Recently named Best of Category (Best Hotel, Resort or Leisure Destination) at Perspective’s A&D Trophy Awards 2016, The Temple House is a part of the Chengdu’s Daci Temple Cultural and Commercial Complex, a large scale mixed-use development by Sino-Ocean Land and Swire Properties, in one of the city’s many rapidly developing urban areas. To date, it is the third hotel in Swire Hotel’s flourishing House Collective portfolio which includes The Upper House in Hong Kong and The Opposite House in Beijing.


Taking cue from the location of Chengdu itself, the design concept centers around the hotel’s form and spatial expression, from which Make Architects embedded a “local” quality” to bring out the destination’s rich history, celebrated traditions and lush green surroundings.

“The design was not a linear process. It was an iterative dialogue with Swire Hotels which made the process much more interesting, says Katy Ghahremani, Make partner and lead architect on the project. “We could look at the design holistically and this created a really dynamic relationship between the design of the hotel’s external and internal spaces.”

Right from the entrance, a beautifully-restored Qing Dynasty heritage building welcomes visitors, anchoring the atmosphere immediately with a modern Oriental touch. Throughout the property, The Temple House exemplifies a typical Siheyuan design within a contemporary context, featuring a sequence of courtyard gardens bordered by two L-plan medium rise buildings – one housing 100 hotel rooms, and the other 42 serviced apartments. According to Make, the city-facing and internal courtyard-facing facades have been given entirely different treatments.

“The former is essentially solid and brick-built, the latter are sheer curtain-walls of glass, which maximise the reflection of light into the courtyard,” states the architectural team. “The city-facing brick facades of the hotel and apartment segments were inspired by the local production of brocade.”


“Named after the nearby Daci Temple, The Temple House also honours the historic buildings of Chengdu with Bitieshi, a remarkable restored Qing dynasty courtyard that inspired elements of our third hotel’s contemporary design.” The Temple House


“Built more than a hundred years ago during the Qing dynasty, Bitieshi follows the classic layout of a Siheyuan or Chinese quadrangle used for a host of residences from modest family homes to imperial palaces. Bitieshi comprises a courtyard surrounded by four buildings, now sensitively restored by artisans. Its traditional brickwork, wood carvings, timber ceilings and floors, step stones, overhanging roofs and flying eaves have been preserved and enhanced. “

The three-dimensional woven façade clearly delineate the space through a combination modern design with traditional Chengdu architectural elements of timber, brick and step stones. Throughout the design process, a series of experiential possibilities has been carried out to ensure a harmonious composition of surface textures, internal light and shadow effects, as well as interior views.


“Dappled light filters into Bitieshi through the lattice of the restored traditional window screens. Inside, free-standing bespoke furniture helps preserve the original structure. Hand-woven furniture and lighting honour local weaving traditions. A uniquely tranquil experience, Bitieshi is also home to some of Chengdu’s most interesting event spaces and A Thousand Plateaus, a contemporary art gallery.”

“The light-wells embedded in the courtyard layer, organically shaped in plan and stepped in section, are reminiscent of the terraced paddy fields of Sichuan’s steep hillsides when seen from beneath,” Make shares adding that the terracing effect was echoed even more dramatically in the design of the grand staircase that connects the ground floor reception area to the courtyard.


“Inside, The Temple House is open and fluid, with spaces and passageways that flow from one area to another and from dark to light, or from bustle to calm.”





“The design of the hotel interior appeals heavily to the senses of sight and sound through playing with light and texture.”

The Temple House features four different restaurants and bars, each designed to reflect a different gastronomical experience while blending in with the rest of property.


“Local materials and architectural elements, such as timber, bamboo, and step stones, features throughout the hotel, while the abundance of natural light creates a warm and welcoming environment for travellers.”




The hotel also offers  rooms and residences for short or long term stays. These living spaces take on a simpler approach with calmer palettes and minimalist features while still maintaining nuances of its heritage details.





14 thoughts on “Imperial Opulence: Within the courtyards of The Temple House, peace and prosperity are redefined in contemporary ways

  1. Farhan

    Wow, this place really does look like a luxury hotel and nothing less. Just by looking at the photos, it really seems to me that guests are immediately going to feel cozy and comfortable the moment they step through the front door.

    I wonder how much are the rates for the various rooms in this hotel. I assume they must be really pricey. I guess this place is only reserved for the rich elites? Well if that’s the case, it’s too bad then.

    Great article!

  2. Marlinda Davis

    Wow! The architecture of The Temple House is gorgeous! I love the mix of modern and traditional styles too.

    It looks like a very homey and comfortable place to stay. Makes me wish I was there instead of here, lol. How much does it cost to stay one night here?

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful place 🙂

  3. Jenny

    What an incredible architectural feat 😮 I really liked the historical background that you provide. It’s amazing how seamlessly the firm blended different features to create such an inviting and intriguing space. At the same time, each space seems like a work of art. I think the light is a main contribute to this.

    This really blew me away. Now I want to go there! A girl can dream…

    1. Lily Elle Wong Post author

      Yes, when I first saw this project, I can’t stop looking at it either. I really like how they manage to put in Chinese elements and yet keep it all looking luxurious and contemporary. 🙂

  4. Holly

    Wow! The Temple House is so beautiful. I love the photos. I like that the photos are large enough to scroll down and be able to admire the clear crisp images and architectural designs. What an amazing place to stay! You seem passionate about architectural design.How did you find such a place? Do you have other websites?

  5. Kerri

    The history you provided to explain the background behind the Chinese traditional elements combined with the contemporary elements is incredible.

    The lighting played an incredible factor in the design of The Temple House and the brilliance of how the architects wove it into the design.

    My bucket list just gained a new entry tonight!

    1. Lily Elle Wong Post author

      Thanks Kerri. 🙂 I am passionate about Chinese heritage and how it can be translated into modern design. The Temple House is really one of the best examples I have come across. Hope you can visit it one day! 🙂

  6. Jackie

    I just love this simplicity and elegance of Chinese architecture. Both internal and external!

    The photography is amazing and it makes me want to travel there and spend about a YEAR! It provides me a sense of harmony just looking at the photos. Nice job and thank you! I don’t know if I would have ever seen this if you had not posted it!

  7. Filichiat

    This hotel is very beautiful my goodness, that is definitely the kind of place I would like to stay in when I go on an international holiday, I am sure my family will appreciate it even more.

    I don’t even have words to explain the beauty of the architecture of that hotel, the inside looks so calming and soothing to ones mood, spending evenings outdoors, visiting the spa it all just looks so luscious.

    Thanks for sharing or basically introducing this hotel to us it is the best thing I have seen in a long time.

  8. Michael Pacis

    What a great blend of HD photos and short paragraphs, which really made me kept reading. The interior of the hotel is so beautiful!

    I had to scroll up to check if the luxurious interior was part of the Temple House, which I though was in a different building.

    Very enjoyable and relevant content! I, too, am in the luxury niche.

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