Published On: 26.07.2022|Categories: General News|Tags: , , |

The expression “destination hotel” hardly applies better to another resort than the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, the design and architectural project we have selected to review this month. Located in Songjiang, one of Shanghai‘s 18 districts in the southwest of the city, InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is a 5-star resort hotel with 337 rooms, restaurants and bars, banqueting facilities, conference centre, spa, heliport and other leisure and tourism facilities.

The building that houses all these facilities descends some 88 metres into the heart of the earth, embedded like an ore in the depths of what was (between 1902 and the 1950s) an andesite mine. The architectural project, which won several awards and the international competition for the transformation of the quarry, was the work of the architectural firm JADE+QA, based on a conceptual design by the design and engineering consultancy ATKINS.

According to the architects, IHG’s hotel project expresses its “design philosophy”, which is to delicately integrate the building “into the natural environment and not fight against it”. As a result, the resort adheres “organically” to the quarry walls, with only two of its floors above ground level, 16 below, and two underwater.

Four elements are imposed by the nature of the surroundings and the hollow of the mine: the two upper levels, with a green roof; the two wings of the resort, one concave and one convex, which “cascade down” the cliff; the “glass waterfall”, or glass atrium for vertical circulation, with observation lifts; and the lagoon at the bottom of the mine, with rooms and common areas submerged in it. In addition, the hotel enjoys a microclimate, thanks to the thermal properties of the rock mass of the quarry and the lake, which cools the structure in summer and heats it in winter. This minimises the resort’s impact on the environment and achieves greater energy efficiency in its operation.

According to the designers, JADE+QA architects had to respond to unusual engineering challenges with their project. These included the seismic implications of constructing a building with its ends fixed to the quarry walls, and the associated fire safety issues, or those related to drainage, water quality and internal circulation. These engineering challenges required the engineering team to file 41 new patents (according to Martin Jochman, the hotel’s chief architect, in Forbes magazine).

As for the interiors of the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland, many of its spaces make use of the relationship with the former mine for theming, with recurring decorative elements that reference minerals, walls formed from the quarry’s bare rock and rooms named after gemstones. In addition, the hotel has six suites that open onto large saltwater aquariums. Each room has its own balcony overlooking the lagoon, from which to watch the nightly show of light and water.

Finally, guests can enjoy a wide range of activities, such as boat rides on the lagoon, climbing the quarry walls, zip-lining from the top, and more.

You can get an idea of the spectacular and unique nature of the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland with this video:

Sources: JADE+QA, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Forbes. Images: IHG Hotels & Resorts.

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