The site of this project is located in the valley of Rehe, the North of Chengde City in China, providing primitive forest environment. In ancient times, there were enormous volcanic eruptions, leaving the site natural and superior hot spring resources.

Project Name: Forest Valley Hot spring Center
Project Location: Qi Jia Village, Long Hua, Cheng De City, He Bei Province
Element: Hot spring Spa
Architecture Design: B.L.U.E. Architecture Studio
Architects: ShuHei Aoyama, Yoko Fujii, Huiyong Yang, Jiaxi Li, Baiyi Chen, Lingxi Gu, Huiyi Wu(B.L.U.E. Architecture Studio)
Construction Drawing Design: China Institute of Building Standard Design & Research Co, Ltd.
Architectural Curtain Wall Design: BWCG
Interior Design: B.L.U.E. Architecture Studio
Interior Landscape: Guqi Gao,Hao Yang
Client: SD Harvest Land Group  Co, Ltd.
Architecture Area: 1560㎡
Architecture Storey: 2
Structure: Steel Frame Structure
Material:
Architecture: Volcanic rock,Glass, Black steel, Rusty steel, Laminated Bamboo.
Interior: Volcanic rock, Black steel,  Laminated Bamboo, Black/White Granite, Texture paint.
Design Period: June, 2017 –  Dec, 2017
Construction Period: Sept , 2017  –  Sept , 2019
Photography: Xia Zhi

©Xia Zhi

Most of the hot springs in the valley used to serve the locals, Now, in order to provide a place for people in fast-paced urban life to slow down and relax, we want to create a unique hot spring experience by combining plants and hot springs. After walking through the entire valley and observing the surroundings, we chose the location of inflection point in the center of deep valley. Surrounded by mountains and facing tranquil water, the site is a natural place with serenity.

During our site reconnaissance, the atmosphere of nature changes frequently in the valley environment. Some places in the valley are bright, and some gets dark immediately; The temperature varies constantly in different locations in the rolling valley; Sometimes we hear the crystal sound of running water and sometimes we hear the sound of birds singing…… Our key design concept develops from the free and open spatial experience with natural elements in the forest. Thus, we intend to incorporate the unique experience into our design.

©Xia Zhi

The design attempts to simulate and correspond to the form of continuous mountain range through creating a form of spatial combination of soaring vertical solid towers and horizontal transparent glass boxes. Meanwhile, hot springs and plants, as the two major functional space, are interspersed with each other, presenting a diverse spatial variation like the form of the rolling valley.

There are eight towers in total with different height and angles. The first floor at the two of the towers provide hot spring pools, while at the rest of the towers provide service spaces. The second floors at the eight towers are 2 spas, 5 pools and a rest space. Outside the towers, we design large open plant landscape areas covered in glass boxes. The eight towers are connected by walking trails on the first floor and by air corridors on the second floor. They are all closed loops with no end, leaving plenty of possibilities of circulation for guests, just like walking in the forest. Along the circulation paths, small-scale functional spaces such as coffee shops, rest areas, makeup space and retail are scattered around to enrich the walking experience.

©Xia Zhi

Inside the towers, guests can look outside at the thick layer of snow or green leaves outside while soaking in the hot springs through large windows. They can also see the planes flying across the sky or the glittering stars through skylights. It also will be a pleasant journey in the woods if you step out of the tower and walk on the corridor like wander through the trees.

Volcanic rocks and hot springs are both geologic formations after volcanic eruptions. In order to express the energy of nature, we select volcanic rock as the material for external walls of the towers. The volcanic rocks are hung up layer by layer, like the layering of vegetation on the mountain. The horizontal glass-box space reveals a sense of transparency and blur, contrasting with the solid tower buildings. For the interior, we use three main materials: bamboo, timber and stone. By combining the lighting and the depth of the towers in four different layouts, we create a special sense of ritual for bathing in hot spring.

©Xia Zhi

In modern fast-paced urban life, functional spaces like hot springs are becoming increasingly important. When people appear in the space after taking off their clothes, the complexity from outside world, and their social identity, communication between human and nature and communication between people are both becoming more honest and true. Forest Valley Hot Spring Center is providing a place and an opportunity for modern city people to encounter and interact with nature.

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