The Tent Cloud Hotel, China, 2014
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The major effort of our team was to create an unique architectonic system that could respond to the diverse needs of all three proposed sites (Badaling, Hengshan and Changbai) and the four key points of the design requirements.
The keyword present in every aspect of the concept of the TCH is flexibility: from the flexibility of structure and construction to the morphological, functional and aesthetic flexibility.
The starting point of our reflections was the concept of scaffolding: it represents in the life of constructions the ephemeral element par excellence. It is so fascinating to see these structures, often covered by a simple coloured textile suddenly appear in familiar places, and to realise after a short time that they disappeared without a trace and without any noise like a dream or a ghost.
The structure of the TCH consists of few basic elements: five types of poles and different types of nodes, extremely easy to assemble with only the use of bolts, just like a scaffolding.
An orthogonal grid of 1x1m composes the single frame giving rise to a module of 4m x 4m x 3m high or alternatively 4m x 4m x 4m high. Because of this extreme simplicity of form and assembly it is possible to compose more modules connected together at any point of intersection of the orthogonal grid. The morphological result of this assembly is totally different from the usual modular structures, as it can lead to an infinite variety of forms. But the TCH goes beyond the aesthetic form: such a structure can adapt to any type of terrain and landscape situation being able to be assembled around existing trees. The modules that touch the ground will be attached by means of screw foundations with a practically null impact on the environment.
The modules can be covered with a textile membrane or rigid insulation panels depending on the climatic and landscape conditions of the site.
The volumes will host a range of accommodation types and public functions such as a restaurant/bar, reception/offices etc.... The assemblage of volumes also creates semi-covered spaces used, depending on the needs, for public spaces (semi-covered restaurant, ballroom, meeting places) in perfect harmony with nature, creating a completely new and exciting holiday experience. Both interior and semi-exterior spaces will be furnished with elements typical of the site. Some clusters of volumes will be used for specific functions depending on the peculiarities of the site: in our project we have chosen, for example, to use a clusters of volumes as a tea house in the site of Hengshan, where tea fields are present; in Changbai, in addition to all the facilities typical of a boutique hotel, we planned a cluster of glass wall volumes, creating an orangery where lush green plants can be enjoyed during the winter season. In Badaling a cluster of volumes will host a traditional Chinese bath house.
The TCH has a system for collecting rainwater that will be used for drinking and domestic water.
A system of passive solar heating is also present in every volume of the TCH: through the large windows, always exposed to the South, sun will enter every volume. High thermal mass panels will absorb solar energy during the day to release it at night, minimising the necessity for additional heating. The TCH, thanks to its modular elements, can be transported to any place and assembled easily without the use of materials with a high environmental impact and without irreversible construction methods like concrete or welding.
If needed, the TCH can be easily removed (and possibly reassembled elsewhere with the same materials), without leaving any trace on the site.
Project: The Tent Cloud Hotel, China
Status: Architects in Mission Competition, Finalist
Program: A tent-themed hotel which can adapt to various climates, convenient to build up, with local cultural flavors and that inspires a new style of holiday
Key Team Members: Marco de Piaggi, Weronika Wawrzyniak