dan pearson studio

























The place

The creation of Amanyangyun is an extraordinary story of ecological and architectural conservation. When a forest of ancient camphor trees and dozens of Qing and Ming dynasty villas in Jiangxi province were threatened by the construction of a new reservoir, philanthropist Mr. Ma Dadong resolved to transport them all, tree by tree, brick by brick, to the site of a new luxury resort on the outskirts of Shanghai being constructed on a greenfield site that had previously seen agricultural usage.

The brief

We were commissioned to design and detail the hard and soft landscape across the entire resort site from the infrastructural streets and public areas, to the hotel landscape and private gardens for 44 villas. The project also involved the masterplan for a new public park designed to address local water management and includes a lake, wetland walks and water meadows. This serves as the green heart of the new urban district that is rapidly developing in the area.

The design

Our primary task was to create a new home for the ten thousand camphor trees. We created a woodland landscape to make them feel as though they had always been there. The hotel landscape relies on the bold use of sculptural pine trees and a quiet, green understory to create a mood of calm sophistcation. Each villa garden is different and features a range of traditional and recognisable Chinese plants including bamboo, magnolia, peonies, roses, camellias and wisteria. We worked with a team of traditional potters in Jingdezhen, the centre of Chinese ceramics, to create a range of planters and waterbowls based on historic forms that are used across the site.

At the core of many of these initiatives is emotional investment, which seems to act as the catalyst for the financial one. Ma, who was born in Jiangxi, chose to act when he saw the landscape of his childhood threatened with total obsolescence by damming. ‘As children, my friends and I played hide-and-seek in those camphor trees; we climbed in them, dreamed in them. I had no idea whether I could successfully save either the forest or the houses’ – in consecutive efforts that took more than six years, and involved a team of more than 100 people – ‘…but I felt two things: one, that I could ‘afford’ to fail; and two, that if I did not try, I would deeply regret it later in my life.’

Maria Shollenbarger | Financial Times

In true Aman fashion, there’s zero evidence of the herculean effort this all took. If you didn’t know better, you’d think you’d stumbled into a beautifully preserved village in a forest that’s been there forever, which was, after all, precisely the point.

Rebecca Misner | Condé Nast Traveler

There is an evident cohesiveness to the project, from the absolute and total quality, to the generous volumes and reflecting water ponds, to the repeated use of screens and courtyards. Together they form an experience of sanctuary and serenity, a coming together of modernity and tradition. It would have been easier to copy aspects of the antique villas – the upturned wings of their tiled roof corners, the storytelling details of the stonework, the organic patterns of the wood screens – but with (Kerry) Hill’s intuitive creativity you get both the old – the caringly modernised villas – and the new. A perfect legacy.

Guy Dittrich | Sleeper Magazine

Shanghai Guyin Real Estate Company

25 acres



Kerry Hill Architects

2019 Ahead Asia Awards | Hotel of the Year

2018 Prix Versailles | 1st Place Central Asia and Northeast Architectural Award

2018 Time Magazine | Greatest Places

2018 Conde Nast Traveller The Hot List | 50 Best Hotels

2018 Surface Magazine Travel Awards | Sustainability Award

Shanghai Guyin Real Estate Co.

Aman Resorts

Kerry Hill Architects