Beijing-based PLaT Architects construct hospitality complex in Xiangshawan Desert
The Lotus Hotel is located in Xiangshawan Desert, 800km west of Beijing and between Ordos and Baotou. The site faces the Hantai River, a branch of Yellow River, and east to Kubuqi Desert that more than 200km wide.
Due to the restriction by its special geographic condition, PLaT Architects invented a new structural system that fix into the fluid sands using only steel panels without the help of concrete or water. The panels and the supporting skeleton structures are pre-fabricated, and make the base of the building a large container for sands. Thus, the steel panel structure can function as a boat floating on desert that carries the building. The sands in and out of the structure exert the same forces as each other, and thus it is flexibly stabilised. The walls are load-bearing structures in order to reduce the pressure on the base.
The architects use local materials within the interior design so that people get the full experience of the desert when staying at Lotus Hotel. For instance, through a series of experiments, they managed to invent a wall-covering material that is made of sand from the surrounding desert.
The form of Lotus Hotel not only blends in the desert, but also exhibits a power of the environment and itself. The architects used the traditional Chinese idea of 'Zhen', which is, in simple words, the art of repeating the same elements. Rotation of squares in the same angle created a series of triangles which made the form stronger. In consideration of structure, shading and wind, the architects have integrated function, form and landscape, resulting in a form of lotus. Lotus Hotel is only a part of Xiangshawan Desert planning.
This project promotes sustainable tourism in desert. PLaT Architects is targeting for a net-zero sustainable architecture that generates electricity and water in its own system enough for supply.