The modernist eco-resort Innhouse is gently placed in a forest near the Chinese city of Kunming. Winner of the 2012 WAN award for hotels, The Oval Partnership's design is a subtle formulation of form and texture which brings in a variety of environmental attributes. The goal is to create an intimate space for travelers to unwind without harming the valuable forest environment celebrated in the hotel's design.
The Innhouse’s scale is surprisingly modest compared to many huge projects that have come out of the building boom during China’s rise on the economic world stage. Rather than pushing the boundaries of program and material combinations, the hotel is a much more restrained mix of three L-shaped building joined by a series of elevated walkways. A design language of wooden louvers combined with deep overhangs above tall windows protect the buildings from the sun’s glare. The wood skin helps integrate the block forms into the surrounding woodland. High insulation levels help maintain comfort and reduce energy consumption.
Bamboo decking protrudes from the three buildings, adding access to the outdoors from each of the 17 suites and allowing guests to wander freely through the complex. When inside the tall windows provide daylight and a visual connection to the natural surroundings.
The Innhouse’s beauty is more than skin deep, starting with the hotel’s rainwater collection and grey water reuse systems. The buildings can be naturally cooled via cross ventilation, while smart building controls reduce artificial lighting and heat and cooling needs.