This tourist centre by Chinese studios 3andwich Design and He Wei Studio stands on a platform facing out over a deep limestone canyon in Anlong County in China’s Guizhou Province. Four buildings and a pavilion-like structure that make up the Anlong Limestone Resort are hidden between the peaks of the hills, with the platform and a bridge connecting them.
Floor-to-ceiling windows give visitors unobstructed views of the karst topography, a 100-metre cliff face divided by a river that flows from two underground sinkholes. “The scenery of the canyon is powerful enough to become the protagonist,” said architect Zhuoran Zhao of Beijing-based practice sandwich Design.
“Each building has a good viewing surface of glass walls, through which the magnificent scenery of the canyon can be absorbed by the buildings,” he told Dezeen. “The platform connects the outdoor space of each single buildings with the environment.”
A mix of timber, light-toned bricks and local stones allows the architecture to blend in with the surrounding rock formations. The centre of the resort includes a reception hall, a conference hall the Red Point Restaurant, and the Tequila Club bar.
The raised buildings are positioned at the highest point of the valley floor at the bottom of the canyon, providing panoramic views of the landscape and protecting the buildings from flooding.
The canyon often floods during the rainy season between July and September. Without any official data available on flooding levels, the architects relied on knowledge from local residents to determine a high water mark to build above.
As well forming a dialogue with the natural environment, the architecture is informed by local building styles.
“The new buildings are trying to respond to the intentions of traditional buildings, following the form of traditional double-slope residential houses in southwest Guizhou, suited to rainy weather,” said Zhao.
Along with the scenery, tourists visit the canyon to enjoy extreme sports including rock climbing, paragliding, water sports and off roading. It is also a popular spot for hot air balloon rides.
The team took on the project in 2016 for the Anlong Heyun Tourism and Cultural Development Co, and construction was finished in July of this year.