The One Nanyuan – Land of Retreat & Wellness

Interior and Landscape Architecture
Hsinchu, Taiwan
Design / January,2007–June,2008
Building / April,2008–September,2008
Site Area / 270000㎡

Nanyuan, originally designed by Architect Han Pao-teh, is a village complex of Minnan-style brick houses and Suzhou-style Chinese gardens. Surrounded by overlapping mountains, the site of 27 hectares was a retiring home for Taiwanese newspaper publisher Wang Tiwu. Being the largest Chinese garden complex in Taiwan, the construction followed strictly traditional techniques led by many craftsmen and artisans to reify the ideal of literary gardens – with, water, rock garden, trees, flowers and artificial mountains, a series of carefully composed scenes unroll like a scroll of a painting.

Entrusted with the task of renovating Nanyuan, Banmu Architects set to restore its original glory created by Architect Han, who is a master in Taiwanese contemporary architecture. The village complex is organized into two zones: a sightseeing zone for visitors to appreciate the gardens and architecture, and a lodging zone for guests to enjoy artful and literary experience. After thorough consideration, our task centered on remodeling the aging buildings, as well as preserving the original spatial arrangement while at the same time injecting new spatial expressions.

Using the concept of “wandering in garden”, spaces of the new and the old are linked together through the theme of seasonal progression. Visitors wander through gardens of spring cherry blossoms, summer bamboo groves, autumn maple leaves and winter plum flowers that are carefully arranged to enhance sensual experience of seasonal changes. The location of the village entrance is changed from the original, prominent gate to a small reception pavilion so that visitors may experience and appreciate some original, cozy spaces of architecture and nature before entering the village.

The original training facility, Tong-Xin Lou, is retrofitted into a guesthouse in the garden. It is a retreat in a sublime and secluded environment. Here, guests may experience “slow living” to appreciate the intricacies of nature and architecture. Here, in the forgotten village, guests may find peace in their hearts.

Bathing is a key design experence in the guesthouse. Each guestroom is transformed from two old dorm rooms; one as a bedroom and the other as a bathroom. A space to clean off the body and ease the mind, the spacious bathroom is retrofitted with a bathtub made of aromatic cypress and a window view into the mountains. The warm bathing water, the sweet scent of cypress, the grand view of the mountains and the relaxing tub provide guests with an unforgettable bathing experience. A lattice window of cypress is installed between the bathroom and bedroom to allow the aroma of cypress, through the steam of warm water, to permeate into the bedroom. The warm yellow light, the misty scent of cypress, the aging texture of window frames and a soothing blanket render each guest into a dream of serenity.