Stray Bird | Yellow River by Studio QI Architects

STRAY BIRD is a cutting-edge boutique hotel, located in one of the most magnificent places on earth: an isolated oasis encircled by both the Yellow River and Tengger Desert in CHINA’s Ningxia Autonomous Region.

Description

STRAY BIRD sits quietly in the blossom orchard, while gazing through the reeds; a green train runs slowly alongside the endless horizon of the desert. With such a unique landscape, STRAY BIRD is thus required to challenge the traditional rammed-earth architectural typography, and to re-present itself in an ecological and airy structure. Such design also inspires continual discussions of architectural transparency, thereby engendering new definitions for localization.

Locating only 10 meters from the Yellow River, pre-fabrication services as both design and construction strategy, providing varied solutions to most all the challenges and difficulties for building in rural, western China. Taking transportation constraints and structural limitations, all into consideration, the design was finalized in modules of a 14m*4.5m steel frame format, with sophisticated interior details and finishes, along with a unique entrance deck and front-terrace. Three-sided Low-E glass curtain wall system is introduced, given that architecture is regarded as the medium between living conditions and the grandeur of nature.

As a holiday resort place, STRAY BIRD focuses on conditions for relaxation and leisurely experiences. According to the definitions of spatial events and actions of the body; the space is therefore divided into three distinct programmatic zones as: sitting, standing, and sleeping. Both sleeping and sitting are considered as the most desired experiences, which are placed at the corners of the module on opposite sides, and are surrounded by full-height glazing system and exposures to Nature’s magnificence. At the same time, all practical uses are compartmentalized into a central area, which also makes internal circulation much more efficient.

The design of each programmatic area emphasizes the sensibilities of space in both planar and sectional dimensions. The furniture is designed and arranged, according to the desired moment of events, and is best positioned to maximize visual paths to the outside. Design operations seek for responsive, visual communication between the interior and the exterior, while architectural details are carefully depicted to make such experience effective.

Adding a rather playful perforated panel on the back wall of each architecture, placed for the purpose of semi-privacy, four on-site themes are thus effectively created, as pear trees, reeds, date trees, and stray birds. These pre-fabricated metal panels allow for the continual interactions between the inside and outside via light and shadows. It also adds a layer of ambiguity between the image and the object.

STRAY BIRD invites the Yellow River and desert into the space by the interplay of transparency. It blurs the boundaries between architecture and nature, while interrogating the traditional means of construction and the separations rendered by layers of solid walls. For STRAY BIRD, the absence of structure and material is fashioned for the appreciation of the grand landscape. The architecture is now filled and imbued with light and air.

Photography by Qingshan Wu

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- by Matt Watts

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