Blur Hotel: an "experiment in urban acupuncture"
The Blur Hotel, located on the site of a large government office beside the western Gate of the Forbidden City, is an experiment in "urban acupuncture". As a refurbishment proposal, the project aims to harmonize the existing building with its surroundings and provide a beacon for renewal of the surrounding area. The first strategy is to open out the ground floor of the building to create a layer of traversable space occupied by public-oriented programs.
The next approach aims to integrate the building more with the local building typology, the courtyard house. By carving into concrete slab floors of the existing building, an arrangement of alternating vertical courtyards is created replicating the spatial arrangement of the surrounding hutongs.
The third tactic deals with the exterior of the building, wrapping it in a continuous and semi-transparent facade. Referring to local traditions, the skin is based on the image of a Chinese lantern. Allowing light out and into the building it diffuses the building into a single, but permeable, object.
The facade material used in this project is FRP, a thermosetting plastic which is translucent, rigid and corrosion-resistant. Functionally it is used as a protective surface against the sunlight. On a conceptual level, the extraordinary colour and texture of FRP created an image of Chinese boulders, generating a translucent and glowing effect reminiscent of Chinese lanterns.