CLADmag issue4 2018

Page 113

the design of the Sangha retreat and residential community in Suzhou

PHOTO: SETH POWERS

PHOTO: DWIGHT LANDSCAPE

Tsao & McKown are behind

Sangha Suzhou, China OPENED: 2017

PHOTO: RICHARD BRYANT

ARCHITECT: Tsao & McKown

Joy Menzies, managing director of Bangkokbased Destination Spa Management (DSM), says her company is receiving a lot of interest in wellness communities in Asia, with Thailand and Malaysia seeing quite a bit of growth. But Menzies has seen so much interest in these communities from China, that she recently relocated there. “The Chinese people are asking for wellness communities – there is more demand than availability at the moment,” says Menzies. China is the second-fastest region for growth in wellness communities after the US; problems with pollution combine with a high-stress business culture to create a big demand for wellness. Additionally, the Chinese government has been

CLAD mag 2018 ISSUE 4

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rchitecture practice Tsao & McKown designed Sangha, a

189,000sq m (2m sq ft) luxury wellness retreat along Yangcheng Lake outside of Suzhou, China, that includes a 69-bedroom

wellness hotel, a 6,000sq m (64,583sq ft) spa, a ‘learning campus,’ and a collection of four-bedroom residential villas and apartments.

Sangha’s wellness hotel offers a platform for wellbeing works, including

an integrated medicine assessment and treatment centre, mind-body

practice, coaching and counselling, spa, medi-spa and mindful dining. The

6,000sq m (64,583sq ft) spa includes treatments from massages to colonics, as well as a hammam, wet spa, steam room, saunas and night walks.

prioritising projects that focus on culture and wellness for a few years now, reports Menzies, and this is fuelling the development of wellness-focused communities, though a lack of understanding of and experience in creating true wellness communities means many projects miss the mark. “The government’s drive to insist developers consider the health and wellness needs of their residents hasn’t come with any education to the developers on what they should be including or focusing on,” explains Menzies. But with government initiatives in place and further studies in progress through universities and research centres, Menzies hopes there will be more guidance and standards in place in the near future.

“China has great potential to lead Asia in the development of wellness communities, partly due to government initiatives but also because there is a continued need for new housing for its 1.4 billion population – and particularly for retirees. Additionally, in a country of 5,000 hot springs, there are great opportunities to build wellness real estate around these facilities. Against this wave is the sheer size of and speed at which these developments are built. Creating true wellness communities requires in-depth collaboration between every single party involved in a development – from the designer, to the construction teams, to the operators, to the waste management provider to the marketing team.”

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