Like a Ship Floating in the Desert

January 18th, 2013 - Any resort that lists their recreational activities as desert surfing, Camel riding, and sand skiing, is sure to perk some interest! The Desert Lotus Resort is located in the mystical Xiang Sha Wan, the “Sand Bay” of the Gobi Desert, in Inner Mongolia. Beijing-based PLaT Architects designed the concrete-less resort to work like a ship floating in deserted.

The creatives at PLaT had to invent a new structural system that is fixed in the sands by panels and a prefabricated steel support skeleton. Free of tiles and bricks for construction, the resort is built with low carbon environment friendly materials to utilize solar, water and wind energy in the desert, reducing environmental pollution and strengthening ecology protection. The architects use traditional Chinese idea of "Zhen", which is, in simple words, the art of repetition of the same elements. Square white tent tops, rotated 45 degrees are connected together in a circular formation. The rotation of the squares in the same angle generates triangles. In consideration of the structure, shading, and wind, the architects integrated the function, form and landscape, resulting in a form of a lotus flower. The hotel aims to be an example of sustainable tourism in the desert, through networks that generate electricity and water in their own self-sufficient system for the provision and operation of the building.

The winters in Inner Mongolia are long, cold, and dry with frequent blizzards. But the spring, summer, and autumn are polar opposites to the winter, they are short, hot and arid, a time known for dangerous sandstorms. The adventure junkies who make the long trip to the stylish low carbon resort come to enjoy the mystical orange sand dunes, and the warm Hantai River, a branch of the Yellow River more than 200 kilometers wide. Stand and look into the distance here to see a vision of the colored sand hills that meet the charming glow under the sun as the breeze blows over the dunes making music.

Photography: Photos of The Week