It’s an architectural delight. A mammoth lotus structure in the middle of the desert may not be your first choice of stay on a holiday. More so when it’s tucked in the dunes of Inner Mongolia. But this is no fable tale, for The Desert Lotus Hotel is located in the Xiangshawan Desert, a remote stretch of dunes in Inner Mongolia, about 350 miles west of Beijing.
Xiangshawan is also known as the ‘Resonant Sand Gorge’, as the composition of its dunes make them ‘singing sands’, which can produce a roaring or booming sound when disturbed, a natural phenomenon still not fully understood.
Deserts and resorts are always a challenging combination, though the Middle East seems to have got the hang of it. The Chinese firm behind the project — PLaT Architects managed to solve some of the structural challenges with building on sand in interesting ways.
Desert Lotus doesn’t have a traditional foundation, and no cement or water was used during construction, instead it rests on a flat metal base filled with sand, keeping it stable like ballast in a boat.
The structure itself is made of low carbon environmentally-friendly materials to better use the solar, water and wind energy in the desert. Its insides are designed on prefab frames, walls and its ceilings are lined with a composite made from dune sand.
Sail-like shading devices cut down on energy costs, and give the whole ziggurat-shaped complex a superficial hint of Arcostanti — the radical desert eco-community that put environmental architecture on the map in the 1970s. The resort also features a pool, spa, and private club.
We’re not sure about prefab frames but we’re tickled at the thought of a holiday in middle of Xiangshawan Desert. Sounds too musically good to be true.