News

Neri&Hu Project | Incision - Nantou City GuesthouseMarch 2022

“A simple cut or series of cuts acts as a powerful drawing device able to redefine spatial situations and structural components... There is a kind of complexity that comes from taking an otherwise completely normal, conventional, albeit anonymous situation and redefining it, retranslating it into overlapping and multiple readings of condition past and present. Each building generates its own unique situation.”

- Gordon Matta-Clark

Urban Village, or cheng-zhong-cun, is a phenomenon where the remnants of pre-industrial settlements are nestled amidst a seemingly modern metropolis. Nantou City, the site of Neri&Hu’s adaptive reuse project for an eleven-room guesthouse, is an example of such an urban village. Situated at the heart of Shenzhen, a burgeoning city with astonishing growth, Nantou City has evolved from a well-heeled ancient capital to the overcrowded inner city it is now. Visitors today are immediately immersed in the tightly knit alleys, plazas and dead-ends, where residents, street vendors, unsupervised children, nomads alike roam.

Inspired by the vibrant milieu of the alleyways in Nantou City, the project seeks to reflect on the cultural heritage of the mundane. Scenes of the everyday—people, objects and their settings—are the primary source material for design. To celebrate life in the urban village, the existing structure was cut into as a massing strategy, allowing such “urban incisions” to foster a new public realm on the inside of the previously private apartment block. At the same time, the excavation revealed the many material layers and building structures as if at an archeological site, only to allow new interventions to instigate unexpected dialogues between the past and the present.

Throughout the research and design process for the Nantou City Guesthouse, Svetlana Boym’s writings on the topic of reflective nostalgia have guided the thinking behind the project. Rather than simply mimicking the past for its superficial material effects, the project has sought to unearth the possibilities of certain kinds of past that could invigorate our contemporary culture. A tectonic language was developed to articulate two divergent treatments that probe the notion of urban layering and the embracing of fragments: that of a light, screen-like cladding as the major façade element, and the other a heavier, expressive assemblage to contrast as a skyline “capping” atop.

Like the bustling scenes in the alleyways below, the roofscape across the Nantou urban village has a life of its own, with makeshift gardens and vegetable farms popping up along the jagged skyline. To reframe views of this ever-evolving village, a flat floating roof is installed to create a dramatic panorama of the street life below, and a new public ground above. Housing public spaces and service functions, the metallic monoliths of the rooftop play on vernacular add-ons, which are much sought after by space-starved attic-level residents.

To engage with the uniquely organic circulation that is quintessential to Nantou’s urban fabric, the guesthouse’s access and public realms are designed to be woven back into the network of intricate alleyways found on site. The new entrance to the guesthouse is created by extending a side street directly into the heart of the building, as if to invite neighbors and friends into one’s private home.

Old and new are juxtaposed throughout the building to celebrate ruins. Once the visitor arrives at the building, the public gesture of opening up the building along the urban axis is turned upward. An existing stairwell that had previously connected all nine tenement floors was now cut open and expanded to create a new vertical courtyard. Natural elements are allowed to pass through from the open façades to the side and a light well above. A new metal stair suspended within the vertical courtyard takes the visitor on a journey to the guest rooms on the mid-levels, and finally to the public rooftop gardens.

To cut does not simply connote destruction, but also creation, in this case, of spaces and meanings. By absorbing the urbanity into the building, Nantou City Guesthouse in turn makes its private history legible and becomes fully ingrained in the ebb and flow of the city. In that transformation, the self-healing incision opens a new portal into as much as the past, as the mundane yet singular present.

September 2022Neri&Hu News | Neri&Hu's solo exhibition will open at Aedes Architecture Forum in BerlinSeptember 2022Neri&Hu Awards | Neri&Hu is shortlisted by Dezeen Awards 2022July 2022Neri&Hu Project | AZ Awards - The doublings in the House of RemembranceJuly 2022Neri&Hu News | DOMUS Cover Story - Jean Nouvel × Sarah Whiting: Seamless SynthesesJune 2022Neri&Hu Award | Architizer A+Awards 2022: Singapore Residence, Fuzhou Teahouse, The Chuan Malt Whisky Distillery, and Papi RestaurantJune 2022Neri&Hu Award | HD Design Awards: Beyond Hospitality - The Chuan Malt Whisky Distillery; Hybrid Hospitality - Fuzhou TeahouseJune 2022Neri&Hu Award | Brick Award 22 - Winner of "Building outside the box" | Neri&Hu: Tsingpu Yangzhou RetreatJune 2022Neri&Hu Product Launch | Salone del Mobile 2022May 2022Neri&Hu Award | Architecture Symposium at Brick AwardMay 2022Neri&Hu in Milan | Salone del Mobile 06.2022May 2022Neri&Hu Lecture | Founding Partner Lyndon Neri will join a round table discussion on China Dialogues at AIA New YorkApril 2022Neri&Hu Project | Singapore Residence - The House of RemembranceApril 2022Neri&Hu Award | The Chuan Malt Whisky Distillery by Neri&Hu won the Best Commercial Project in Architecture by Créateurs Design AwardsMarch 2022Neri&Hu Project | Incision - Nantou City GuesthouseJanuary 2022DEZEEN brings 12 of the most anticipated architectural projects in ChinaDecember 2021Tongji University appoints Rossana Hu, Founding Partner of Neri&Hu, as Chair of the Department of Architecture at the College of Architecture and Urban PlanningDecember 2021Neri&Hu Exhibition | Traversing ThresholdsNovember 2021Neri&Hu Award | "Architecture Studio of the Year" by DEZEEN Awards 2021November 2021Neri&Hu Exhibition | Neri&Hu's solo exhibition at MAXXI will open soonOctober 2021Neri&Hu Award | Fuzhou Tea House is awarded the Grand Award and Gold Award by DFA Design for Asia Awards 2021October 2021Neri&Hu Award | Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu are awarded their first Lifetime Achievement Award from FRAME Awards 2021October 2021Neri&Hu News | Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu have been appointed Design Critics in Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of DesignOctober 2021Neri&Hu News | Book Launch and Panel DiscussionSeptember 2021Neri&Hu Award | Neri&Hu is shortlists for "Architecture Studio of the Year"September 2021Neri&Hu Project | Neri&Hu's second monograph Thresholds: Space, Time and PracticeSeptember 2021Neri&Hu Award | Honorable Mention in THE PLAN AWARDSeptember 2021Neri&Hu Project | Pernod Ricard's malt whisky distillery in Mount Emei Near CompletionJuly 2021Neri&Hu Exhibition | HOME SWEET HOMEJune 2021Neri&Hu Lectures | University of Buenos Aires in Argentina: Lyndon NeriJune 2021Neri&Hu Exhibition | The Reinterpretation of Works in Permanent EvolutionJune 2021Neri&Hu Lecture | Technische Universität Berlin: Neri&HuMay 2021Neri&Hu Exhibition | Four contemporary designers re-interpreting MAXXI Architecture CollectionsApril 2021Neri&Hu Exhibition | Neri&Hu presents exhibition "Reflective Domesticity"April 2021Neri&Hu Exhibition | Neri&Hu: Works in Permanent EvolutionApril 2021Neri&Hu News | KÖNIG GALERIE Opens a New Space at MCM Haus, designed by Neri&HuMarch 2021Neri&Hu Lecture | Architects, not Architecture (AnA): Lyndon Neri X Dong GongMarch 2021Neri&Hu Lecture | Days of Oris : Rossana HuFebruary 2021Neri&Hu Lecture | The 13th annual Atmosphere symposium at University of Manitoba on "Radical Manifestations"January 2021Neri&Hu Award | Neri&Hu Won the Best Large Firm in the annual Architizer A+Firm AwardsDecember 2020Neri&Hu Award | Neri&Hu Won "Architectural Firm of the Year" at A&D Design AwardsDecember 2020Neri&Hu Award | That's Shanghai Food & Drink AwardsDecember 2020Neri&Hu Lecture | Design for Asia Forum on "Culture & Sustainability"November 2020Neri&Hu Collaboration | Neri&Hu X Ms MIN's collaborative exhibition「He Yi」November 2020Neri&Hu Lecture | RIBA Members Sri Lanka and AIA International Region Present Women in Architecture & Design 2020November 2020Neri&Hu Lecture | Architect Council of Thailand Forum 2020 presents Lyndon NeriNovember 2020Neri&Hu Lecture | The Building Experts Lecture Series by The University of Pennsylvania presents Rossana HuJuly 2020Neri&Hu Collabration | Neri&Hu is pleased to announce its first collaboration with Cassina—the Stay collectionJune 2020Neri&Hu Award | The Twelve A.M. collection designed by Neri&Hu for Molteni&C was announced Winner of ELLE Deco International Design Awards 2020June 2020Neri&Hu Teaching | Rossana Hu is invited to the 2020 Public Review on M.Arch thesis projects of the University of Hong Kong Department of ArchitectureJune 2020Neri&Hu Project | Neri&Hu have designed BAUM stores, Shiseido's new high-end skincare brandJune 2020Neri&Hu Award | Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu joined the jury panel of 2020 AD100 YOUNG Special Jury AwardMay 2020Neri&Hu Lecture | Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu will be interviewed by Livia Peraldo Matton, Editor in Chief of Elle Decor ItaliaMay 2020Neri&Hu Award | Neri&Hu designed 5 products are announced finalists in 2020 NYCxDESIGN Awards ​April 2020Neri&Hu Award | Aranya Art Center was selected as one of three projects in Archdaily’s “2020 China Building of the Year”February 2020Neri&Hu Lecture | Neri&Hu at Design Indaba 2020 in Cape TownFebruary 2020Neri&Hu Award | Junshan Cultural Center and The Unfolding Village Won the Jury Prize Awards at 2020 FRAME AwardsFebruary 2020Neri&Hu Exhibition | Exhibition IN MEMORIAM by Yale School of ArchitectureFebruary 2020Neri&Hu Award | Winner of Madrid Design Awards 2020February 2020Neri&Hu Lecture | Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid LectureFebruary 2020Neri&Hu Lecture | Madrid Design Festival LectureDecember 2019Neri&Hu Award | Sulwhasoo Flagship Store listed in “10 Interior Designs that Defined the Decade” by AZURE magazineDecember 2019Neri&Hu Award | Mercedes-Benz X UNESCO Co-Designer Award for Sustainable Livelihoods ProjectNovember 2019Neri&Hu Project | Twelve A.M. Collection won the Best Furniture Design by EDIDA Elle Decoration International Design Awards China 2019November 2019Neri&Hu Lecture | Harvard University ‘s Graduate School 5x5 lectureNovember 2019Neri&Hu Award | The Edition Shanghai and Kimpton Da'an Hotel shortlisted in Wallpaper* Best Urban Hotels 2019October 2019Neri&Hu Lecture | Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu speaking at Monterey Design ConferenceOctober 2019Neri&Hu Award | Neri&Hu named the BLUEPRINT OVERALL Award for DesignOctober 2019Neri&Hu Project | Comme Moi Shenzhen store is officially open todayOctober 2019Neri&Hu Lecture | Talking Practice Developed by Harvard Graduate School of Design: Lyndon Neri and Rossana HuOctober 2019Neri&Hu Award | Rossana to join the grand jury at 2020 RIBA International PrizeOctober 2019Neri&Hu Lecture | Lyndon Neri speaking at College of Architecture + Design of The University of TennesseeOctober 2019Neri&Hu Event | Harvard University GSD Shanghai Alumni ReceptionSeptember 2019Neri&Hu Exhibition | Aranya Art Center and Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat being exhibited at Salon d'Automne 2019September 2019Neri&Hu Exhibition | Sketch of Aranya Art Center being exhibited in Drawing Attention at Roca London GalleryAugust 2019Neri&Hu Project | Pernod Ricard Emeishan Malt Whisky Distillery is officially breaking ground todayAugust 2019Neri&Hu Project | Design Republic@Zhengzhou opens today within the CBD of ZhengzhouJuly 2019Neri&Hu Award | Lyndon Neri will judge at Dezeen Awards 2019June 2019Neri&Hu Award | Lyndon Neri will judge at ARCASIA AWARDS FOR ARCHITECTURE 2019June 2019Neri&Hu Award | Valextra Flagship Store won the Special Prize Exterior of Shops & Stores category by The Prix Versailles 2019May 2019Neri&Hu Project | Aranya Art Center, designed by Neri&Hu, is officially open in QinhuangdaoMay 2019Neri&Hu Award | Junshan Cultural Center won the Gold Award in the category of Real Estate Project by CREDAWARDApril 2019Neri&Hu Award | The Sukhothai Shanghai selected as Top 10 Hotels in China by 2019 The Golden ListApril 2019Neri&Hu Exhibition | petit h -- Hermès Chengdu Pop-Up StoreApril 2019Neri&Hu Lecture | Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu Speaking at Kent State University -- Palazzo Vettori in FlorenceApril 2019Neri&Hu Exhibition | Neri&Hu at Milan Design Week 2019March 2019Neri&Hu Project | Kimpton Da An opened today in TaipeiMarch 2019Neri&Hu Award | Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat won two awards by AHEAD Awards 2019March 2019Neri&Hu Lecture | Rossana Hu Speaking at "The Future of Chinese Architecture"March 2019Neri&Hu Lecture | Lyndon Neri Speaking at Brainstorm Design 2019March 2019Neri&Hu Lecture | Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu Speaking at Hong Kong University, Department of ArchitectureFebruary 2019Neri&Hu Award | Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat awarded Hotel of The Year by Frame Awards 2019January 2019Neri&Hu Award | Rossana Hu to judge iF Design Award 2019January 2019Neri&Hu Lecture | Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu Speaking at Interior Design Show TorontoJanuary 2019Neri&Hu Project | The Unfolding Village, Installation Design by Neri&Hu for Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2019December 2018Neri&Hu Award | Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu awarded 2018 DFA World's Outstanding Chinese DesignersDecember 2018Neri&Hu Lecture | Lyndon Neri Speaking at Business of Design Week Hong KongNovember 2018Neri&Hu Award | Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat being part of the Design Hotels™November 2018Neri&Hu Collaboration | "Cloud" label design for San Pellegrino at 2018 Salone del Mobile. Milano ShanghaiNovember 2018Neri&Hu Lecture | Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu Speaking at The Cooper UnionOctober 2018Neri&Hu Lecture | Lyndon Neri Speaking at University of Miami School of Architecture