Located at 4200 meters altitude in Tibet, SONGSTAM LODGE LAIGU certainly would make one of a unique award-type building project to be found in the world. Facing the largest Laigu Glacier on the Tibetan Plateau, the architecture not only has to face tremendous challenges both in design and construction phases, but also is required to conquer strictly limited building conditions, as this extreme altitude allows for absolutely no interior construction to be operated on-site without special considerations. Such building difficulties in all extreme conditions, directly demand that the design and building strategy seek advanced ways in terms of both innovation and technology.
We gave prime consideration for not disturbing one of the most ancient of villages in the Himalaya region; the building tucked in and hidden from sight by a high cliff, that leaves only the entrance level showing above ground and able to be blended into the village’s view. On the other side, full height windows are placed across all three levels of guest rooms and the public space, such as the restaurant, reading lounge and coffee bar areas, in order to maximize the grandest views of the spectacular glacier and wet lands.
The absolute restrictions of on-site interior construction imposes, due to the lack of sufficient oxygen for the workers, challenges creations in the design strategy and the building process. After considering all measures and matters, modular prefabrication stands as one of the only practicable options remaining possible, in order to achieve the building of high quality hotel rooms in rural Laigu. As a result, the architecture is designed and fabricated in two parts: the building foundation with first level of dormitories, and the back stone walls being constructed on-site; whereas, all guest public areas and rooms, having a cluster of 43 individual modules, which are prefabricated, both exterior and interior in Shanghai, at the same time.
Representing the highest quality of living and as a boutique hotel in the Tibetan region, SONGTSAM LAIGU consists of 20 guest rooms; all brilliantly integrated within the modular layout. There are 16 luxury rooms, in which two rooms are - as a set made of 3 modules, with a uniquely configured module shared in between; along with 4 gorgeous suite rooms, each made of 2 modules, that locate on either end of building, garnering the best corner views of the glorious glaciers.
The architecture is designed to high building performance standards and of outstanding building quality. Whereas low-E triple glazed windows at full height are applied to maximize the visual appreciation of the grandeur of nature, other advanced building technologies such as innovative modular structural systems, diffused oxygen systems, and electrical floor heating systems are all being utilized in the modular prefabrication design.
Additionally, the innovative design process involves extensive international and ethnic collaborations and coordination. All road tunnels and bridges on 318 national road throughout the Tibetan region must be directly measured and verified, personally, to avoid any non-standardized barriers. Moreover, an oversized crane is put into practice, due to the fact that the modules are to be aggregated on the sides of the cliff, wherein the crane’s arm must cross over the main building in order to be operative.
SONGTSAM LAIGU welcomed her first guest on June 01, 2019.
STUDIO QI ARCHITECTS, founded by Shanshan Qi in New York & Hangzhou, is a sole female lead international architectural design firm specializing in innovative design projects. The design studio focuses on the complexity and sensibility of spatial relationships, wherein it applies 2.5 Dimensional Thinking and Systematic Approaches to generate critical studies and designs for the future.
STUDIO QI confronts the current social problems and modes of living, and pushes for a unique and thoughtful reading challenging it for future social definitions and human relationships. STUDIO QI commits to the design field by enhancing dimensional performance, utilizing both professional and cross -professional knowledge. Our works pursue the thoughtful combination of urban texture and innovative use of space.