The Renovation of Phoenix State Guesthouse

Taizhou, China

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The AECOM design team started work on the Phoenix State Guesthouse renovation in Taizhou in 2016. Fully respecting the regional characteristics of the surrounding, the design retained the historical context of the guesthouse while gave it a complete restoration. Here, the building becomes the important link to tie the mountains, river and city together and allows the guests to experience nature in the city center.
The focus was on the hotel’s spatial reconstruction, functional additions and the overall landscape design. The functional additions include 70 guest rooms, a swimming pool, a fitness center, conference rooms and reception halls, additional parking space, kitchen and mechanical space, as well as a stand-alone banquet hall. With the renovation completed, this prestigious state guesthouse officially re-opened in 2020.

Located in the core area of the city, on a long and narrow site where it faces the two Phoenix Mountains, just beside the Haimen River, the Phoenix State Guesthouse of Taizhou was built in 1988. It is a hotel with the charm of the Jiangnan-style architecture.

AECOM’s design concept of “integrating nature, dialogue and symbiosis,” aims to transcend the restriction of the property line, where mountains, river and gardens are considered as a whole. Here, the building becomes the important link to tie all these elements together. Contrasting elements of rolling mountains and flat river, ancient town and new building, are all in harmony and symbiosis.

The site is 400 meters long from north to south. It measures 120 meters at its widest point, and 40 meters across at its narrowest point. Following the shape of the mountain and the water, the design naturally spreads from south to north between the flexible mountain shape and the regular water bank. A view corridor through the mountain and water is preserved.

The original 230 guest rooms at the core of the site were retained and upgraded with new furnishing. A banquet hall was added to the south of the hotel, as well as a 70-room state guest house building, and an annex building to the north. Chinese garden layouts inspired by Jiangnan gardens are used for the new state guest house buildings, while the texture from the original hotel is continued throughout, combining with the mountain silhouettes, allowing the building and space to slowly unfold in front of the guests like a Chinese painting on a scroll.

The orchid courtyard, bamboo courtyard and plum courtyard are semi-private courtyards, with areas of 400 square meters, 300 square meters and 500 square meters, respectively. They are all lined by a two-story corridor, which allows one to walk around in a circle and meditate in the space.

Fully respecting the regional characteristics of the surrounding, the project draws inspiration from the Jiangnan architectural style of residential buildings. The white walls, dark tiles and wooden window ledge pay tribute to the traditional houses, while the modern minimalistic curved roofs resonate with the silhouette of the mountains and the flow of water. Looking down from above, the undulating rhythm of the hotel’s roofs echoes with those of the local buildings and mountains in the near distance.

The core of the resort-conference hotel is the banquet hall. A banquet hall building was added to the south of the existing hotel, containing two large spaces that can each accommodate up to 1,000 people. The main entrance guides the crowd through a low space and then into a two-story high lobby. The west front hall uses large panels of glass curtain wall to blur the boundaries of inside and outside. The folding bronze perforated panels project the Chinese-style ribbed window pattern to the indoors. The large-scale lawn and pond outside the front hall provide pleasant outdoor gathering places. Looking south from the entrance, visitors can clearly see the “Baiyun Pavilion” in a distance on Taizhou Mountain.