Yunfeng Spa Resort
Kengo Kuma Architects

Category: Spa
Location: Yunnan Province, China

This design gem is situated in the rugged landscape of southwestern China’s Yunnan Province. Named for the adjacent mountain, considered sacred by Taoists, the resort was laid out to channel the qi energy flowing from the slopes. Japanese designer Kengo Kuma placed various types of stone, all quarried in the area, into mosaic-like patterns on the walls and roofs of spa villas as well as on the pathways between them. The resulting pixelated effect is at once soothing and thrillingly futuristic—a “Sim City environment in the countryside,” as juror Troy Conrad Therrien described it. Also notable are the thermal baths in the courtyard of each unit, carved from a slab of granite, with rough-hewn edges. It all adds up to what juror Elizabeth Diller calls “a paradigm shift, an experiment in design.”

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