Oval Partnership’s Innhouse hotel, Kunming, wins international awards

The client for Innhouse provided Oval Partnership with an open brief to build a prototype development of eco-boutique residences in the mountainous rural suburbs of Kunming in Yunnan province. The architect’s response was to create an inspiring and exemplary model of responsible tourism, modeled in a small scale eco-luxury hotel of low density, and integrated with the environment to bring guests into closer contact with their natural surroundings.

Innhouse hotel, which has won a wide range of international awards, is founded on Oval Partnerships’ principles of long term environmental and social sustainability. On a modest scale, this project has proved the success of their design approach, which is also being implemented on urban regeneration and large scale mixed-use development projects such as the Daci Cultural and Entertainment District in Chengdu and the Villages development in Beijing’s Sanlitun district.

Innhouse Hotel, Kunming © the Oval Partnership

Innhouse Hotel, Kunming © the Oval Partnership

Design Response:

Innhouse produced a new resort hotel business model, created around dual lifestyle choices of guests looking for a different form of luxury retreat. The hotel is designed as a collection of ‘loges’; a village of connected dwellings rather than a single mass, with reference to the ‘Yi ke yin’ residential format of Yunnan. The layout is crafted to suit use by groups of friends or family with multiple low volume blocks interspersed through the site, and incorporates active and passive environmental technologies to minimise energy consumption.

Crafted in response to local climatic conditions, this vernacular format has central courtyards providing daily communication between residents, as well as high levels of natural ventilation and lighting to the surrounding rooms. The L-shapes frame courtyards at first floor level, partly enclosed by the existing mature trees at the open sides, and encourage a greater integration of indoor and outdoor for guests. Integrated with a cantilevered balcony, the living spaces open directly into the surrounding greenery. With subtle lighting through a series of vertical windows, the more private areas are behind a feature partition wall and forms a box within a box.

Environmental Initiatives:

Oval’s environmental design principles guided the massing, site design, external treatment and materials selection. Following an extensive survey of the site’s existing landscape, eco-system and local weather conditions, the site masterplan was designed to find a sustainable balance of development. Based on a ‘watershed’ approach the hotel has a maximum site coverage of 18%, creating a low density development with minimum impact on the environment.

Other primary initiatives include site watershed conservation, solar thermal hot water, rainwater recycling and grey water reuse, a highly insulated envelope, reconstituted bamboo with low embodied energy, habitat preservation and intelligent building control .


  • Project name: Innhouse
  • Client: Horti-Expo Xing Yun Real Estate Co Ltd (HEXY)
  • Location: Expo Eco Town, Kunming, China
  • Building area: 4,350 sq. m.
  • Architect: Oval Partnership / Integer Intelligent & Green

2012 Awards:

  • Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), International Award
  • World Architecture News (WAN), Hotel of the Year Award
  • Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Merit Award outside Hong Kong (Commercial Building)
  • International Hotel Award Asia Pacific, Hotel Architecture China (Highly Commended)
  • Perspective Awards, Best of the Best, Trophy of Commercial Architecture Category, Certificate of Excellence in Sustainability
  • Design for Asia Awards, Merit Award

Please download the full press release in PDF (1.5MB) or ZIP with images (60MB).

For further information or images of the Innhouse project, please contact:
Taryn Swales, Project Director, Oval Partnership
E: tarynswales@ovalpartnership.com
T: +852 2528 8618
W: www.ovalpartnership.com

About Oval Partnership: A Practice for Social Architecture in Asia

Oval Partnership is dedicated to urban design and architecture for Asia. The practice’s work is founded on a principle of social architecture, creating cities, districts and buildings specific to the conditions of the region that have social impact to the benefit of building users, our clients, the environment and the wider public. Our belief in social architecture produces greater reward than the pure programmatic function of our designs. Working across masterplanning, building design, landscape and public realm disciplines, we have inherent interests in intelligent sustainable design, societal improvement and community engagement.

Beneath this over-arching principle we have seven areas of focus in our work; masterplanning and sustainability, heritage, lifestyle, transportation, intelligent and green design, interpretative experience and community building. With Integer providing mutli-disciplinary sustainable expertise as an integrated part of Oval Partnership, we also achieve highly responsive, energy-efficient designs.

Projects include

  • Daci Temple Cultural and Commercial Complex, Chengdu
  • The Village at Sanlitun, Beijing
  • Hong Kong at Venice Architecture Biennale 2012
  • KPMG-CCTF Community Centre, Cifeng Village, Sichuan

For more information on the projects, visit the Oval Partnership website or download full press release in PDF (1.5MB) or ZIP with images (60MB) 

About Giant Communications

Specialist communications consultant for real estate and architecture. Managing strategy, brands, marketing collateral and public relations for real estate corporates, design professionals and the built products they create.

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