A quarry is a rather unlikely destination for a swank hotel. Perhaps that’s what makes the concept of Songjiang Quarry Hotel so awe-inspiring. Indeed, design and engineering consultancy Atkins won an international design competition for the five-star hotel back in August 2006 and their vision is in the process of being transformed into reality by Chinese developer Shimao. The satellite town of Songjiang is approximately 35 km from Shanghai city centre and well connected to existing transport infrastructure. Sprawling landscapes and natural beauty have made it a popular tourist destination and the district has been designated as an important local and national leisure resource. The design of the Songjiang Quarry Hotel is meant to reflect the natural landscape of the quarry. The winning concept was inspired by the stunning location and the natural environment of the rocky cliffs, waterfalls and surrounding hills. The project will see the construction of a five-star, 383-bedroom hotel built into the side of a disused, 90 m deep, water filled quarry. The hotel will be operated by Intercontinental as a sport and leisure-oriented spa resort. The concept design has attracted tremendous interest across the world.
Apart from the green roof, it is intended that many features, ranging from geothermal energy to solar energy utilization, are included in this project. The reasons for the green roof are two-fold: it is both for the building to fit seamlessly into the surrounding environment and become a ‘natural’ part of the local topography, and also for its eco-friendly and energy saving qualities.
Apart from an awe-inspiring location, a cascading waterfall from the top of the quarry into the pool below it, and striking waveform architecture, the Songjiang Quarry Hotel will have plenty to offer. The futuristic hotel features underwater public areas, guest rooms and conference facilities for up to 1,000 people, and also includes sport and leisure centres. Two underwater levels will house a restaurant and guestrooms facing a 10 m deep aquarium. The lowest level of the hotel will contain a leisure complex with a swimming pool and water-based sports. An extreme sports centre for activities such as rock climbing and bungee jumping will be cantilevered over the quarry and accessed by special lifts from the water level of the hotel. Also, a transparent glass ‘waterfall’ located in the centre of the building is a major architectural feature. By building the hotel where it is, designers and developers hope to prevent further damage to the ecological environment around it. The Songjiang Quarry Hotel may become just about the greenest hotel ever made.