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The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu: Beautifully Balancing Tradition and Luxury (3)

By  William Wang (CRI Online)

14:57, September 24, 2012

Old construction techniques of the original structures adds to the charm of The Schoolhouse's rooms. (CRIENGLISH.com/William Wang)

Spear dubs it the luxury of simplicity. "It is meant to be luxurious in the sense that you don't sacrifice the creature comforts," he explained. Comforts in the Schoolhouse can include outdoor showers or Jacuzzis with views of the Great Wall. "On the other hand," he countered, "there are many areas of simplicity. The hotel rooms that we've put together are uncluttered, open to the views, open to nature. And they're simple in the sense that they're built in a way that is close to nature, using local materials that have a story behind them. They're full of natural light. We use the latest technology, so LED lighting is actually very simple. And most of the places you can't even see the fixtures anymore. But yet you have a warm light that comes into the spaces. I like light. I like the manipulation of the space to create unanticipated views and surprises."

Since childhood, Spear has had an interest in architecture and design, and he's grateful today to exploit this creative outlet. In the rooms he's created, attention to detail only seems effortless -- as if every shower in the world should have a sightline on the Great Wall.

But the Schoolhouse has also made a name for itself based on its sustainability initiatives.

Local materials are used for constructions when possible. The rainforest showers save energy. Thermal double-paned windows insulate against sound and cold. Organics are composted. A grey water recovery system is even in the works.

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