Xuchang, Henan, China
The MIST Hot Spring Resort is located in Xuchang prefecture, 100 km. from Zhengzhou, a capital of China’s Henan province. This region of China has been considered the nation’s most famous hot spring destination for over a thousand year since the Tang Dynasty era. During the four months of winter, people from all over China visit its abundant hot springs. The MIST aims to be a new landmark of Henan that will attract both domestic and international travelers to the province all year round.
The best natural attribute of the site is hidden down below – it is China’s finest geothermal underground water. As the heated water is brought up, it gives off gently lingering mist floating above the water surface. The project attempts to heighten the experience of this mystic quality of blurring landscape through master layout design. The building masses, the passageways, the waterscape, are strategically integrated with natural steam from hot-spring pools and some additional mechanized fog that would surround the overall atmosphere and experience. White mist floating just above water surface not only creates dreamy ambiance but also provides certain level of privacy for guests relaxing in private hot spring pools from other guests’ view.
In central China, a combination of white snow, somber sky, and leafless trees results in a monochromatic picture with a rather gloomy impression for the most part of winter. The project is our attempt to create a unique way to “colorize” our guests’ experience. The inspiration came from the colorized black and white films in the early 1900’s when the artists hand-painted transparent layers of colors onto black and white films, frame by frame. The result was surreally colorful since the colors were not at the objects, but seemed afloat in the air. The idea of dyeing the space with colorized light onto monotone surface was adopted into architectural language. The facade of the building is doubled with three dimensional lattice structure inspired by Chinese bamboo scaffolding, filled with shades of blue and magenta glazing. This system gives depth and color complexity to the facade, and combines balconies into a single architectural element. The architectural and interior surfaces are kept monochrome to receive and heighten the effect of the colored light painted upon itself through the colored glass. As sunlight shines through the facade, it floods the space with colorful light while at the same time; the colored glass brightens up the gloomy sky while looking out from the inside.
Here, color is used as a three-dimensional architectural element, not as finishing material, to create not only unique visual but also space.