Henn's designs for new hotel complex aim to create a 'green oasis' in the Chinese capital
The site of the South West Hotel is located next to a major traffic junction of the West Fourth Ring Road and Lianhua Road in Beijing. The project is a multi-functional building complex, integrating three major programs; hotel, commerce and office. The South West Hotel sets new standards for contemporary sustainable building design, creating a green landmark for the city of Beijing.
The basic functions of the five-star hotel include accommodation (340 rooms) for business clientele with supporting facilities such as conference rooms and a multi-function hall. The commercial part comprises street shops, flagship stores, a department store, cinemas, restaurants, clubs and cafés. The office part is intended for short term leasing of high end enterprises. All the program units loop around a central courtyard peaking in a five-star hotel. From the distance the overall complex creates a clearly identifiable landmark. The ascending curves of the volume are a reference to the dynamics of the context. The internal courtyard shields from the noise and the hectic pace of the city creating a retreat for guests and customers- a green oasis. It is a shared communal space connecting the various programs.
The different spatial qualities between the exterior (city) and the interior (courtyard) are reflected in the building envelope. The inner façade appears open and transparent. Horizontal bands form balconies and outdoor gardens – secluded getaways for exchange and relaxation. The outer façade is a double layered multifunctional skin. It consolidates the miscellaneous programs behind a homogenous, large scaled surface. This surface serves as the screen for media and light installations during day and night. A matrix of LED light units supplements and surrounds a central high-end LED screen displaying commercials. The low resolution media installation (LED lights) works as a visual amplifier augmenting and abstracting the commercial content over the entire building façade.