Nestled away in the rural Wuijang District of Suzhou, China is the beautifully designed Boatyard Hotel, which artfully merges with its surroundings. The boutique hotel is tucked away in the village of Shanwan, next to a river that defines the region, making it quite a scenic and idyllic location. The hotel is defined by natural design codes and has an overall serene and minimal architecture that perfectly complements its serene surrounding landscape.
Designer: WJ Studio
Founded by Hu Zhile, the WJ Studio was the creator and mastermind behind the design. The design neatly focuses on water and a generous abundance of natural light. It accentuates and elevates the natural elements of the site, building upon them to create a soothing and relaxing property. The structure features high and low arched roofs which instantly bring to mind the image of ships docked on the water. This gives the impression that the hotel is quite fluid and free-flowing, and this is heightened by its black roof.
There is a dark-colored trestle bridge that functions as a tiny floating island, allowing guests to fully enjoy the views, and immerse themselves in the riverside property. The bridge dutifully absorbs the fluid movement of the water. A bench has been added, inviting guests to sit on it, and observe the waterfront. The bench has been imprinted with a recessed water pattern.
The interiors of the hotel are marked by large floor-to-ceiling windows, and a sunken pool, whose water level fluctuates with the weather. The interiors and exteriors are subtly blurred together with the help of a meticulously planned path, allowing guests to weave in and out. The rooms on the second floor are marked by high vaulted ceilings, through which light trickles in, creating a space that is subtly light up. WJ Studio’s design philosophy attempts to integrate the entire design process – from planning to interiors and even operation, hence integrating a space thoroughly, in all contexts, and thereby creating an aesthetic that is holistic and wholesome. This allows a seamless and thoughtful connection between the visitors and nature, enabling the two to have a serene connection.