Domain Architects - Beijing MM Farm Hotel, transforming an abandoned school into a boutique hotel
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Beijing MM Farm Hotel, transforming an abandoned school into a boutique hotel

Domain Architects

Renovation  /  Completed
Domain Architects

An abandoned school in a mountain village in Beijing was transformed into a boutique hotel. Due to the restrictions, the structure of this rent property was not allowed to be changed. The project hired local villagers for construction in order to strengthen the connection with the village. Thus, we had to find a low-tech and light intervention strategy to reform the site experience. We used 60,000 meters of hemp rope to transform the facades while barely touching the existing houses. Through the mesh of ropes, the original structure is revealed in different ways as viewers move, creating rich and dramatic light effect both inside and outside the rooms.

The site is situated close to a reservoir, but it is not easy to be aware of on the site. We recreated the atmosphere of a waterfront settlement with a system of public paths elevated from the reflection pool, undulating up and down in gentle slopes. The only area next to road was transformed into the major entrance. Thus, the first house from the south is used as public space and service space. The other three houses are guest rooms, including six double rooms and five suites. Every room has a courtyard with complete privacy. Glass vitrines equipped with bath tubs or serving as tea rooms protrude from guestrooms to enable guests to “dive” into the courtyards.

Except the replacement of roof sheathing and some changes of partition and fenestration, the original houses were almost kept intact. Due to the extensive use of natural materials such as timber and hemp rope, and short-distance suppliers, the carbon footprint of the entire renovation project is estimated to be close to zero. As an extremely common situation in China, changes of tenants often result in significant amount of construction waste. At the end of the lease period, this project will come to a much more environmentally friendly ending: all the steel will be recycled, and the hemp rope will be buried on site and return to dirt. After helping this project to complete its ephemeral life, all the natural materials we used will also return to their life cycles in natural world.

An abandoned school in a mountain village in Beijing was transformed into a boutique hotel. To echo a nearby reservoir, we recreated a waterfront settlement atmosphere with a system of public paths elevated from an extensive reflection pool. Although the structure of this rent property was not allowed to be changed, we used 60,000 meters of hemp rope to change the facades while barely touching the existing houses. Through the mesh of ropes, the original structure is revealed in a changing degree as viewers move, creating breath-taking light effect. The renovation left zero carbon foot print. Due to the extensive use of natural materials, the carbon footprint of the project is close to zero. Renovation is an extremely common situation in today's commercial activities. Changes of tenants often result in significant amount of construction waste. At the end of the lease period, this project will come to a much more environmentally friendly ending: all the steel will be recycled, and the hemp rope will be buried on site and return to dirt. After helping this project to complete its ephemeral life, all the natural materials we used will also return to their life cycles in natural world.

In recent years, however, we have witnessed the revival of Rural China: more and more architects are reinterpreting traditional forms and technologies in a contemporary twist, producing artefacts that integrate tradition and innovation well. The MM Farm Boutique Hotel by Domain Architects continues the rediscovery of rurality in China. The architects converted a primary school that had been abandoned for years in a mountain village near Beijing into a high-end boutique hotel.

Credits

 Beijing
 Cina
 Confidential
 Hotel
 05/2022
 630 mq
 Confidential
 Domain Architects
 XU Xiaomeng, Hannah Wang, LIU Zhipeng, ZHOU Mingdi
 Local villagers
 Structural Consultant: AND Office
 SUN Haiting

Curriculum

Established in Shanghai, Domain Architects is a studio led by Mr. XU Xiaomeng, operating within the boundaries of architecture, urbanism, landscape, interior and product design. Our practice strives to reform architectural experience with innovative site strategy. In our opinion, designing architecture is not about drawing physical things, but to create unique and attractive experiences.

China has been undergoing vast scale construction in the past decades, while replicability is usually prior to experience. The situation is improving but many new projects are still no more than a few pretty images. Never wanted to take this easy approach, we keep going back to the original nature of sites and programs to reinvent the experience and thus its spatial logic in a substantial level.

Mr. Xu Xiaomeng, the founder of the studio, was born in Beijing. He graduated from University of Pennsylvania with B.A. in architecture and then obtained Master of Architecture from Columbia University.

http://domain-architects.com/


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