This story was originally published in Architectural Lighting.

Sangha Chapel
Pedro Pegenuate Sangha Chapel

The Sangha Resort, on Yangcheng Lake in Suzhou, China, features a series of hotels, villas, and spa facilities that are surrounded by outdoor spaces meant to create a holistic and natural environment for guests who are seeking a retreat-like experience away from Shanghai. To illuminate the vast scale of the complex and diversity of its architecture and interiors (a dozen firms were involved with the project), UnoLai Lighting Design & Associates approached the project as an opportunity to create a lighting master plan. This way, the lighting serves as the unifying element, while still allowing for individual designer expression.

Sangha Chapel
Pedro Pegenuate Sangha Chapel
Sangha Chapel interior
Pedro Pegenuate Sangha Chapel interior

Lighting calculations and site studies determined appropriate light levels across the site taking into consideration time of day as well as seasonality. Illumination is treated as a textural element–dot, lines, and glowing surfaces–to respond to the surroundings. To eliminate any visual disruption, the lighting team prohibited the use of pole lights and instead opted for bollards and in-ground fixtures to illuminate pathways.

Sangha Village
Pedro Pegenuate Sangha Village
Sangha Village
Pedro Pegenuate Sangha Village

The Chapel serves as the physical and spiritual center of the resort. Situated among native grasses and trees, it resembles a “light box” that glows from within due to its illuminated glass curtain-wall. Throughout the resort, lighting serves as the connection point for the architectural elements and the guests as they commune with nature and one another.

Sangha Village
Pedro Pegenuate Sangha Village

Jury Comments:
Sophisticated • The lighting helps tie the architecture and landscape together. • There’s a lot of complexity happening behind the scenes to make the lighting appear so simple.

Project: Sangha by Octave, Suzhou, China
Client: Octave, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
Architect: Tsao & McKown, New York
Lighting Designer: Unolai Lighting Design & Associates, Shanghai City, Shanghai
Team Members: Uno Lai, Jenna Liu, Jerry Han
Interior Design: Neri & Hu Design and Research Office, Shanghai
Additional Consultants: Landscape Architect: Design Land Collaborative (DLC); MEP Consultant: Aurecon & SLD; Signage Consultant: Pentagram; Facade Consultant: Buro Happold
Photographer: Pedro Pegenaute
Project Size: 1 million square feet
Project Cost: $20 million
Lighting Costs: 20 million Chinese Yuan (US $2,993,721)
Watts per Square Foot: 0.7
Code Compliance: Three-Star Rating Building System (Chinese National Building Energy Code)
Manufacturers: Aldabra, Bega, iGuzzini, KKDC, Kreon, Luci, Osram

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