AIM Architects' use a clever play of the natural water current to craft the bespoke expanse of Ruff Well Water Resort, in the scenic coutryside of China.
Nested at the foot of the Luo Fu Shan mountain range in China, North of Sichuan, Ruff Well Water Resort effectively merges the boundaries between the outdoors and indoors. With the need to offer a soothing wellness experience, AIM Architecture's brainchild, the 2.4 hectare Chinese country¡side retreat's geographic terrain posed a unique challenge to them.
The property is enveloped by tree-capped mountains dotted with temples. The island on which the structure stands is naturally shaped by the water body that flows around it. It is the onus of the river current passing through the property that has carved out the valley. Moreover, there are thermal springs too, that make way to the surface through the medium of wells. These traditional Chinese hot springs make for a breathtaking scenery and thus, serve as a natural design feature to beautify the landscape.
´Ruff Well Water Resort has been a special project amongst the team, it gave us the rare opportunity to merge planning, architecture, landscape and interiors in order to shape a concept focusing on the elements such as land, nature, and in this case, water,´ share the architects from AIM Architecture.
The resort constitutes an ensemble of buildings. Among these, the main spa complex wraps around the perimeter of a hill, located at the centre of the plot, overlooking the valley. The building´s shape and, therefore, the visual experience of the spa are formed by this hill. The key attraction of the resort are the extensive spas, that offer a variety of water-centric services. As the spa therapy progresses, one is offered varying picturesque views across the changing landscape. Apart from the spa building there is a building named MuWeCo, that holds a small museum, a wedding hall and a conference room. This building has a characteristic vault roof that gives it the apperance of a big tent rather than a towering building. It features a dramatic entrance lobby, and on the other side it opens up with a large deck facing the valley that also overlooks the spa and its surrounding park.
The guest accommodations consist of a variety of villas that seek to offer different views and experiences. Although, the villas appear different visually because of their façade, the binding force remains the material used to create them. These villas are quintessentially timber-clad structures that are crafted in a manner to blur the insides from the outsides, thus, offering the guests a connect with the stunning landscape without compromising on privacy.
The interiors are clean, straight-lined and eco-friendly, given that the material used is procured from nature. The use of wood, cork and rugs, in the interiors, lends a warmth to the décor. Most of the furniture that appears in the space, is custom designed by the architects.
With nature as the dominant inspiration, the material palette incorporated is a fusion of elements such as clay mixed with pebbles and stained timber. However, the dominant material remains the River Stone-a locally sourced stone which is a conglomerate of pebbles shaped by the water current. All the other material used were to complement this stone. Cutting the stone reveals pebbles of various shapes, sizes and a gradation of natural colours. This stone, along with cladding the floors, has also been used for crafting the seating around the pools and bench tops in the villas. The architects have also cast it into the concrete roads, created the water channels and landscape walls.
Most of the pools are outdoors, offering a spectrum of experiences. Water, being a crucial part of the space, has been used in various forms like steam or to procure ice, fish, herbs, salt, an assortment of minerals, etc. Some of these pools are still, others whirl, bubble, massage and so on. ´We have sought to make these conditions real, natural, and positioned it carefully in the landscape to make this a complete escapist's place,´ share the architects.
With Ruff Well Water Resort, AIM Architecture transformed the geographic challenges posed into distinct features, making this expansive retreat a source of design inspiration.
Aim Architecture, No 8, Lane 31, Huating Lu,Xuhui District, 200031, Shanghai.
Tel:+86 21-6380 5995.