In Hangzhou, China, all-wood interiors create a feeling of warmth and coziness within a concrete and aluminum shell at this unusual wellness resort. Designed to complement the natural environment of the mountain forest, the butterfly-shaped FUNGZEN Forest Healing Resort by architecture firm TAOA beckons visitors inside with a lantern-like glow.
The architects aimed to create a thoroughly modern space that also integrates into the terrain with ease. The building is laid out as two sloped volumes with connected corners with V-shaped cuts facing two distant views within the valley to visually and emotionally anchor the space to nature. “The other two sides of the building are embedded in the mountain, and the channel of stream and mountain road is still reserved under the overhead butterfly-shaped building,” the architects explain.
That’s right – a stream passes right beneath the narrowest part of the building, with huge windows overlooking it on either side. Trees are also a primary feature, with the building designed around them in many spots so they pierce into the interiors and emerge from the roof. Speaking of the roof, one of this resort’s coolest features is the fact that you can walk right out onto it in areas where the slope is gentle enough to mimic the land around it. A glass railing keeps the views as open as possible. Inside, the shapes of each interior space are dynamic and unexpected, each one organically arranged around its resident tree.
“All-in-one wooden material provides a warm and comfortable building lining and a pleasant living atmosphere, which is in contrast with the wild interest of external nature. This contrast makes people sensitive to nature and can feel the beauty of nature, either tender and delicate, or harsh and cold.”
“The interior is designed to have different elevations. Not defined by partition walls, different living contents are separated by heights, thus maintaining relative independence and creating rich changes in space, which are also reflected in the external forms of buildings to adapt to the different slopes of mountains.”
“ The size of space is defined by the human body, and the walls and roofs of buildings are within reach. This kind of space experience close to a camping tent always makes people feel that nature is close at hand, only separated by the thickness of an outer wall.”