the other side of China, the industrial side

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A 1960s sugar mill turned into a hotel complex in southern china’s Guangxi region. Yes, why not. Located at the hear of a mountain landscape, Vector Architects created an honest project seeking the protection of this industrial heritage of the area.  A new version of the Alila hotels, this "Yangshuo" creates a ode to concrete.

Instead of replicating the old building materials, the studio decided to get rid of the past and bet for new and contemporary materials. Applying more up to date methods, this hotel complex includes hollow concrete blocks and board formed concrete. Also a minimalist interior design project by the hand of Ju Bin, from Horizontal Space Design.

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The hollow block brickwork of the resort was drawn from the sugar blocks that were produced in the 1920’s. Dong Gong had to design a machine specifically to produce the custom-made hollow bricks using local sandstones and other materials gathered from earthworks in the construction of the underground Spa Alila. Using over 60,000 bricks, it took Dong Gong and five tradesmen over six months to hand-make each brick in the construction of the exterior walls of the resort.

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Among the various buildings, the site has been conceived for guests to roam. The main building comprises two circulation systems: one, a functional corridor system, and the other is a walkway that connects three cave-like spaces that allow guest to enjoy the sight to the surrounding mountains.

Red volcanic rock was also discovered during the construction phase and was artfully incorporated in the building materials, paying homage to its origins. The volcanic rock was grounded and mixed into the terrazzo floors and also used on the wall screed, playing up subtle hints of red in the finished design. The same volcanic powder was also used to create beautiful pottery for the guest rooms. Slabs of local clay with etched motifs, are used on bathroom walls while clay etchings of local tradesmen and peasants in the 60s are used to decorate the headboards in the guest rooms.

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Photos via: Alila Hotels

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