Zenstay Hotel


Project title: Zenstay Hotel

Company name: Zen-in Architects

Principal Architect: Shen Shengzhe

Design team: Guo Yixin, Xiao Peng, Chen Wei, Yao Yongli

Design year & Completion year: July 2017 - March 2019

Location: Dongji Island, Zhoushan City, Zhejiang Province, China

Contractor: Local Builders

Structure: Original stone & timber structure, Frame structure

Material: Concrete, Local masonry, Red block, Old Larch wood, Used grey tiles, Stucco, Soil stabilizer

Site area:456, covered area:733.

Original area:318, new area:415.

Including, 9 sea view guest rooms, 1 restaurant, 1 sober bar, 1 conference room and 1 360 ° viewing multifunctional platform.

Zenstay Hotel is the ideal home for a post-80s couple on the eastern end of mainland China, originally a stone house on a hillside in the middle of the island. Sitting and watching the tides rise and fall, and weathered by the elements, the stone house has contributed to the rustic island culture and the beauty of the years. The "local dwelling" and "natural texture" are the entry points for the design of the Zenstay.

Based on local dwelling and natural texture, the reconstruction project aimed at improving quality of living for visitors by generating functional spaces satisfy both needs of traditional culture and modern experience under the seemingly dramatically opposite old and new architectural forms. While preserving the original structure to the largest extent, novel white blocks were inserted to establish continuity between detached public spaces. At the same time, atrium and staircase offered a smooth transition between the old and new and with a purpose to strengthen the harmonious and stable of the place.

In the process, there were series of difficulties overcame by folk wisdom and design strategy on the islands far away from the mainland without large construction machinery and vehicles. The concrete was poured by terrain and gravity, after transported to the top of the hillside by human and animal power. Trying to keep the traditional houses details and unique living experience, we combined modern materials with local craft as well. For example, the original style of the ashlar wall was put back to normal by soil stabilizer and loess. We had to face bad weather and goods shortage where could be much tougher than on the mainland.

In fact, most border islands have two sides of extremes — the cultural enclaves locked in the past and the hot spots for literary youth. Natural, traditional or fashion, postmodern would be conflicting and symbiotic. The design of Zenstay Boutique Hotel has both traditional and novel aspects as well, trying to cater the functional and scene requirements from its two aspects with a sincere and simple attitude.

Thanks to the project, we explored the traditional stone house in island to construct skills as an appropriate technology (low tech), regional cultural of reference, its interventional reconstruction of the possibility and its sustainable idea of the necessity and reflection. By the protection of the original fabric and the innovation of the new format, we turned the old stone house of the rural island into a rebirth.

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