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.
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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.