The new spa centre is one of many such complexes in the town of Qicun, which boasts a long-established tradition of thermal tourism. The main distinction of the Qicun hot spring complex is a mound with an existing traditional temple, located in the very centre of the facility. The centrally positioned mound with its carefully maintained park already represents the main attraction, which will be further emphasised with future developments. It was the recognition of their co-existence with a part of the tradition which encouraged the owners to furnish the complex with numerous artworks from the classical period of Chinese painting in recent years.
In keeping with the new vision of China's development to boost the overall quality of living and re-establish its glorious history in the consciousness of its inhabitants, we chose the classical Chinese paintings as our starting point - not only in terms of the new development's appearance, but chiefly regarding its organisation. As they portrayed the characteristic landscape, Chinese painters would often feature sheltering spaces in their artwork. Any depicted architecture is always shrouded in expressive topography, whose rich vegetation and water elements come together to form a welcoming, warm space, shielded from all external impacts.
The site of the Qicun thermal complex is surrounded mostly by brownfield land and relatively tall anonymous residential developments, which are expected to further expand in the future. Consequently, the new centre was designed as an introverted space which allows full control over the ambient irrespective of the future developments in the immediate vicinity. The structure of the buildings has been patterned after organic growth of greenery and is reminiscent of the karstic landscape found in classical paintings. The accommodation facilities on the perimeter are taller and gradually descend towards the centrally-positioned mound with the temple, re-emphasising its presence. The terraced design of all buildings with their richly greened roof surfaces and overhangs instils the users of the facility with the feeling of a constant connection with the terrain. Additionally, such design emphasises the human scale of the buildings despite their height.
Due to their spiral terraces, the central buildings are accessible all the way to the roofs covering the thermal part of the development, which features external bathing pools, with views of the historical temple evoking the sensation of traditional Chinese baths. The volumes of the various programmes of the wellness area are separated one from another and arranged so as to open onto the numerous interior atria, sheltering them from external influences and offering controlled views from inside. The carefully landscaped atrium design continues uninterrupted into the interiors, tying the softly separated programme together into an inseparable whole.
Enota was founded in 1998 with the ambition to create contemporary and critical architectural practice of an open type based on collective approach to development of architectural and urban solutions. Constant changes and new complex situations in the world around us drive us to think about new architectural and urban solutions. In order to be able to produce answers to those new questions we believe it’s time to surpass the boundaries of conventional discipline set mainly by our cultural backgrounds. Enota’s team of architects focuses on research driven design of the environment where study of contemporary social organizations and use of new technologies are interwoven to produce innovative and effective solutions. Enota’s solutions are strongly influenced by research, reinterpretation and development of social, organizational and design algorithms that derive from nature. The result is always a strong binding of the buildings with the environment that surrounds them.
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