aoe scatters 13 wooden units in a Chinese forest to form Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel

aoe's Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel features raised wooden pods linked by a winding walkway strewn within a scenic site in Guilin city, with a flowing creek and greenwood for company.

by Jincy IypePublished on : Sep 15, 2021

Mushrooming beside a petite river in the picturesque city of Guilin in Guangxi is the Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel, a cluster of 13 wooden volumes of varying shapes hosting immersive accommodation experiences that take cues from its surrounding nature and geography, a driving factor of the hotel’s architecture. Commissioned by the Homestay hotel chain, aoe architects relays that the "history of the hotel can be traced back to ancient civilisation. It is a kind of shelter with a wide view and practicality while avoiding danger. We applied the concept into the project, enabling visitors to have a closer relationship with nature."

  • Aerial view of the 13 wooden volumes that form Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel in China | Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
    Aerial view of the 13 wooden volumes that form Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel in China Image: Runzi Zhu
  • The individual units are connected by a walkway dressed in wooden planks | Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
    The individual units are connected by a walkway dressed in wooden planks Image: Runzi Zhu
  • The architecture is in perpetual dialogue with its greenwood surroundings | Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
    The architecture is in perpetual dialogue with its greenwood surroundings Image: Runzi Zhu

Conceived over two-and-a half-years, the Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel came about after a rigorous study of the local history and prevalent architectural traditions, which mainly pertained to establishing harmonious relations with the abundant nature the tourist site in China is blessed with, apart from a mild and pleasant climate.

  • The hotel including its circulation spaces is in direct dialogue with the surrounding nature | Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
    The hotel including its circulation spaces is in direct dialogue with the surrounding nature Image: Runzi Zhu
  • The pods are connected by a wood paneled walkway | Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
    The pods are connected by a wood paneled walkway Image: Runzi Zhu

The units that make up the contextual design are expressed in five varying shapes and differing areas (reaching a maximum of 27 sqm) and raised to a height of five meters off the ground. These heights are aligned with the canopy of neighbouring trees, lending it behavioural lightness and wide, interesting views of its scenic vistas. The windows of each cabin interact directly with the lively curtain of green they are nestled within, giving guests the experience of shuttling through the jungle. A raised walkway dressed in wooden planks snakes through the cluster, connecting all pods.

  • The volumes as well as the connecting walkway are raised five meters off the ground | Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
    The volumes as well as the connecting walkway are raised five meters off the ground Image: Runzi Zhu
  • One of the unit types with a steep pitched roof | Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
    One of the unit types with a steep pitched roof Image: Runzi Zhu

Each volume is topped with steeply pitched roofs or curved versions of it, clad either in wooden shingles or artificial thatch, covering one set of its parallel sides completely, giving them their raw, distinct aesthetic. The main activity area of each unit is concentrated on the first floor, while the second employs the jutting triangular space as a crawling area for children to play. The other pods vary slightly with children’s bedrooms taking over the second floor, and the first accommodating the living area and bedroom for adults which is spread over approximately 45 sqm, with wooden ladders connecting both levels.

Each volume is topped with steep pitched roofs or curved versions of it | Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
Each volume is topped with steep pitched roofs or curved versions of it Image: Runzi Zhu

aoe uses an outdoor slide to connect the twin levels of Type B and Type C, as a play space for children while Type D is given a more natural look by topping it with an artificial thatched, curved roof. Meanwhile, the façade of Type E is dressed in wooden slats, spliced to form an elliptical, unique and childlike style, with large windows.

  • Each volume of the hotel varies in size and area | Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
    Each volume of the hotel varies in size and area, and has roofs toped with either wood or thatch Image: Runzi Zhu
  • Type E has an elliptical, childlike style with large windows | Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
    Type E has an elliptical, childlike style with large windows Image: Runzi Zhu

The units of the Homestay Hotel are viewed and accessed via differing perspectives as they are placed along the winding plank roads and connect to the second floor of the complex’s inn. This raised road is given a more playful, interactive character by setting it up with slides, slings, and other entertainment facilities for adults and kids alike, and connected to the ground level garden vertically.

The raised road is set up with slides, slings and other entertainment facilities for adults and kids alike | Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
The raised road is set up with slides, slings and other entertainment facilities for adults and kids alike Image: Runzi Zhu

Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel is also augmented with leisure spaces for viewing and relaxing among treetops, its architecture harmonising with the earth, where the great outdoors is a fundamental design element. “The overhead of the trestle bridge and hotel allows the ground floor to escape to the maximum, reducing the impact on the surroundings, and creating a free panoramic garden. Under the shelter of surrounding buildings and trees, it is also cool and comfortable in summer, making the stay a truly relaxing and scenic one,” share the Chinese architects based in Beijing.

Elevations and plans (Top); Sections (Bottom)| Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel by aoe | STIRworld
Elevations and plans (Top); Sections (Bottom) Image: Courtesy of aoe

Project Details

Name: Guilin Lebei Homestay Hotel
Location: Guilin, Guangxi, China
Area: 608 sqm (complete building area)
Year of completion: 2021
Owner: Sunac (Beijing) Cultural Tourism Planning Research Institute Co., Ltd.
Architect: aoe
Lead Architect: Wen Qun Design Team: Jiahan Liang, Liuqing Liu, Jianxin Li, Ruixue Fan

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