Atkins has won an international competition to design a five-star resort hotel set within a beautiful water-filled quarry in the Songjiang district close to Shanghai in China. Its stunning concept designs inspired by the natural water and landscape features of the quarry captured the imagination of judges to quash competition from two other international firms.
The innovative design of the 400-bed resort hotel stands two levels higher than the rock face of the 100 meter deep quarry and includes underwater public areas and guestrooms. It will incorporate conference facilities for up to 1,000 people, a banqueting centre, restaurants, cafés and sports facilities. Sustainability is integral to the design ranging from using green roofing for the structures above the ground level to geothermal energy extraction.
An aquatic theme runs through the design both visually and functionally. Curved wings of the main body of the guestrooms enclose a naturally lit internal atrium, which uses the existing rock face with its waterfalls and green vegetation. This will be overlooked by guestroom balconies and contain restaurants and cafés at the base. Two underwater levels will house a restaurant and guestrooms facing a ten-metre deep aquarium. The lowest level of the hotel will contain a leisure complex with a swimming pool and water-based sports. An extreme sports centre for activities such as rock climbing and bungee jumping will be cantilevered over the quarry and accessed by special lifts from the water level of the hotel.
Bristol-based Martin Jochman, who led the design team, says, “We drew our inspiration from the quarry setting itself, adopting the image of a green hill cascading down the natural rock face as a series of terraced landscaped hanging gardens. In the centre, we have created a transparent glass ‘waterfall’ from a central vertical circulation atrium connecting the quarry base with the ground level. This replicates the natural waterfalls on the existing quarry face.” The Songjiang district is a natural beauty spot close to Shanghai and an increasingly popular weekend and holiday destination for Shanghai residents and other visitors. The new resort hotel will help to meet growing demand and offer an additional attraction for this unique district.
The project is Atkins’ eighth design competition win in China this year. It also reinforces the company’s international reputation for exceptional hotel design. The design was the result of collaboration between Atkins’ teams in Bristol and Shanghai. It was led by Martin Jochman in Bristol and involved Paul Rice, Hu Yali, Ding Fang, Zhang Jian and Vivian Chen from Shanghai.