Back in the 17th Century, before it was an urban jungle, Manhattan was home to the Lenape Indians, who called the island Mannahatta, or “land of many hills.” Fast forward 400 years to nowadays, Manhattan has already become the most densely populated city in the U.S, and probably one of the busiest in the entire world. Our Project, named Infinite Forest, is an unprecedented type of hotel that strives to bring Manhattan‘s long-forgotten hilled land back. By excavating one of Manhattan’s block down, the project reveals the hidden bedrocks that were buried over the last 400 years, upon which will be a new, natural park filled with trees and ponds what one would likely to only encounter back in the 17th Century.
First Award | RTFA 2017 Awards
Category: Hospitality (Concept)
Team Members: Jianshi Wu & Yitan Sun
Country: United States
The highly reflective glass façade of the architecture will form a mirror effect that creates an illusion of infinite natural world right in the heart of Manhattan’s concrete jungle. Looking outside from the guestroom, the trees will extend beyond the physical boundary and reach to infinity. At the periphery, on the newly formed cliffs, there will be ample inhabitable space that contains hotels and retail space, all with unobstructed view and connection to nature.
Due to the project’s unique linear layout, all of the programs are equally facing the fantastic forest scenery. The forest serves as a natural light and noise filter, which will create a quite, unique destination right in the city center, for people to escape from their busy city life. Unlike a normal, centralized hotel building, there is no dark core or bad orientation in this project, meaning all the hotel rooms, no matter on what level, facing which direction, will get the same stunning view. The project was conceived to contrast against the city’s densely constructed building blocks and towering skyscrapers. The proposed underground forest will allow poetic wanders and relaxation on natural terrains.
It is not hard to imagine this new underground hotel paradigm start to appear in other cities around the world. It not only challenges people’s conception of a city by bringing back its unique history, but also put nature back to the center stage of modern hotel designs.