First island, then archipelago, and finally a mainland: the skillful transformation of a semi-abandoned resort within a suggestive nature reserve

A few kilometers from the nature reserve of Lake Jinhai, in the District of Pinggu, not far from Beijing, has recently opened a hotel that seems part of the reserve, its natural continuation.

This is the restoration, refined modernization and extension of an abandoned tourist facility, which was also lacking in character and conceptual relevance, basing on a project by the Beijing-based firm SYN Architects.

The Creek Park Hotel enjoys a privileged position close to the peninsula and overlooking a charming minaret. All around mountains, and a silent mirror of water. That’s why the architects decided to put emphasis on the wild side, on the unspoiled nature of the place, creating a 360 degrees panoramic effect.

To extend to the highest degree the field of vision, open air terraces were built with a rectangular shape and of different sizes, with mountain like features between the original structures that give the resort a totally new layout.

A key element of the structure is the restaurant halfway up the slope, which boasts a privileged view on wild vegetation. It coexists in total harmony with the vegetation that surrounds it, and seems almost to rise, stretching towards the sky. Its roof, unlike the other roofs on the peninsula, invites light to flow freely into the environment.

Once the main architectural elements have been restored, the studio has created a new connection plan between the elements. Curved and straight lines chase, and finally grasp, previously isolated units, making them one thing.

To soften the spatial composition, quite linear and squared, the plank roads have a curvy, sinuous corridors, creating sinuous corridors which seem to be clouds in the sky.

Terraces, panoramic platforms and wooden plan roads are thus integrated, creating a real path and further promoting the dialogue between space and landscape.

When it comes to materials, SYN Architects follows the site without any doubt: fir wood and cobblestones, able to evoke antique Chinese landscapes. Cost-effective materials, which also reflect the “genetic concordance” between architecture and the environment.

Says architect Zou Yingxi: “A building does not have good or bad elements, it has suitable or unsuitable elements. The Creek Park Hotel is suitable for this site, and “grows” its own buildings that along with it will either exist or come to an end, together as one”.

Photos: Chen Yanming