Orange House Hotel

Shaoguan, China  |  2004


2005  |  China Hotel Industry Starlight Award Best Boutique Hotel

Orange House was commissioned as a central element in the redevelopment of the Nan Ling National Forest Park as an eco-tourist resort. Organised by the developer, the Park also hosted a French artist in residence programme at that time, as part of the same process.

The key challenge was to find ways of transforming an existing 25-year-old Forest Ministry building into a boutique hotel, preferably in the most ecologically friendly and sustainable way possible. To this end a concept of applied ‘Texture Layers’ was developed, whereby different materials, textures and colours were applied to reorganise the existing fenestration and give the building a more horizontal emphasis.

The first of these layers are the walls of the original building, which were repainted in bold horizontal stripes of orange and yellow, giving the new hotel both its name and an immediately distinctive presence. Second came the windows, then the strips of timber cladding that wrap round the building at every level. Conceived as flowing ribbons, these were composed so as to absorb the existing balconies into the overall composition. Angled projections and inserts were then added to give the building a more sculptural quality.

At night, the external lighting was deliberately minimised to emphasise the silence and darkness of the surrounding forest, while also reducing energy consumption. At the rear of the building, for example, the main circulation terraces with their multi-rail balustrades were lit solely by concealed lights in the handrails.