the anlong limestone resort is located in a karst canyon of southwest guizhou autonomous prefecture in china, covering an area of 700 acres with a magnificent scenery. the canyon is surrounded by the typical karst topography of rocks, one of which is a vertical cliff of one hundred meters, divided in two parts by a winding river that flows into the underground from two sinkholes. outdoor extreme sports can be found in this ideal site, including rock climbing, hot air balloon, paragliding, water sports and off-road vehicles. in 2016, 3andwich design / he wei studio was invited to participate in the planning and design of the hotel, and was in charge of designing a unique group of buildings: the tourist center of the anlong limestone resort.

the local buyi ethnic group women chatting under the pavilion M
all images by jin weiqi



3andwich design‘s tourist center is located on the top of a hill that lies at the bottom of the canyon. the reason to choose this location is that the hill is the only high point of the canyon with a good view and very eye-catching, which could make this group of buildings the visual focus and resist from annual flooding. since there is a lack of hydrologic data of this area, the design team can only determine the floor height according to the oral instructions of local people and construct the entire group of buildings on a high platform.

the public space surrounded by pavilion M, red point restaurant and tequila club



due to the particularity of site selection, the first problem that the design team needs to solve is the relationship between architecture and environment. the scenery of the canyon is powerful enough to become the protagonist of the resort; meanwhile, the buildings should be integrated into the environment, and then to improve the environment with its own characteristics. therefore, it has become the starting point of design to deal with explicit and implicit of buildings. during the site visiting, 3andwich design has found that there are four peaks on top of the hill, in between of which are highlands. the designers break up the entire block into single pieces and hide them in the peaks and highlands, accommodating a symbiotic relationship of rocks and buildings: the buildings are hidden in the rocks while stretch out from the gaps.

the view of red point restaurant and tequila club through pavilion M



the newly designed buildings are following the form of traditional double-slope residential houses in southwest guizhou, whose facade materials are basically local stones. the designer team would not intend to highlight the buildings that could never been compared with the surrounding mountains and rivers. the only thing designers could do is to respect for the nature. the tourist center consists of four parts: a reception hall, a restaurant, a club and a conference hall, whose overall layout has been distributed around the rocks, illustrating the coexisting status of appearance and cohesion.

consequent scenery of the club and canyon by the glass facade



cohesion refers to the inward aggregation either between the buildings, or between the buildings and rocks, which has been defined and functionalized by an elevated platform. the platform can not only prevent flooding but also connect the outdoor space of each single buildings. all the entrances of the four buildings are open to the platform, where would be used as the communication space for the visitors. in the center, the semi-outdoor pavilion  further strengthens the aggregation of the platform, where has been designed as the most dynamic part among the tourist center.

the magnificent scenery of the canyon has provided picturesque view from the interior



as mentioned above, the relationship between buildings and environment is the starting point of the tourist center. the buildings have been inserted into the rocks, and merged with the environment with local architectural form and materials. at the same time, the building is the most important scenic spot and ornamental point in the entire canyon, illustrating the significance of the transformation between void and solid of the appearance. it is the mode of transformation that plays the key role as an important design language to distinguish from the traditional vernacular buildings.

the aerial view of the canyon and tourist center



according to the function, orientation and the relationship with the surrounding environment of the buildings, 3andwich design has connected ‘solid surfaces’ including roofs, walls and ground, to create C-shaped tubes in section; meanwhile the ‘void surfaces’ (glass) have been wrapped in the epidermis of the tubes. through the transformation between solid and void, completely different temperaments have been obtained from the exterior and interior spaces. besides, the way that people experience the external spaces has been transformed from the single mode of traditional space to the dramatic pattern of modern space.

topological relations of the buildings and rocks

the interior of tequila club



ground floor plan

south elevation



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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