A project based in an almost millennium-old village in Eastern China, the story of the Skywells hotel in Wuyuan is one characterized by preservation, restoration, and a harmonious confluence of the old and the new. Striking a fine balance between tradition and modernity, the team is striving to enhance the culturally significant Huizhou architecture and design with the addition of non-intrusive and inoffensive modern means and comforts.
Wherever possible, effort has been made to preserve original antique elements of the building such as the ornate wooden frames. Talented local craftsmen have been hired for this purpose.
They are reproducing fittings destroyed by years of neglect.
The Tian Jing, or skywells as they are referred to in English, are a prominent design feature of the building, and provide lighting and air to all rooms which open into these courtyards. The restoration work is paying a great deal of attention to the quality and intricacy of wooden carvings in these communal areas. In terms of external design and appearance, the original style of the building with whitewashed walls is being maintained.
Modern enhancements are being made based on the parameters of functionality, comfort, and necessity, with an emphasis on unobtrusiveness with the original design. The renovation of a 300 years old building to create a modern, state-of-the-art boutique hotel undoubtedly requires structural enhancements, which in this case means the addition of a staircase, garden space with a new restaurant, multipurpose area, bar, balcony, tea room and terrace. The interior design will employ warm and cool neutral hues complemented by the occasional bright accent color, and paneled monochromatic works of traditional Chinese landscape art. Work is also underway on the addition of basic functional systems including plumbing and electricity.