The new Palm Island hospitality project by HASSELL in Chongqing, China is surrounded by water on all sides. Located on the banks of Palm Lake and the Taiping Reservoir, the five-building complex houses five new restaurants and a teahouse for visitors to enjoy views out over the water. The city is very hot in the summer, so HASSELL designed it to stay as cool as possible with a double-glazed, heavily insulated envelope with aluminum rods that provide shade. The surrounding man-made pools also create a micro climate and protect the underground spaces from overheating.
The recently completed hospitality and restaurant complex is built on an isthmus between two man-made pools. Water is central to the design of the project and the pools seep into the pedestrian courtyard and visitors can enjoy views of the water from almost every location. Five buildings are arranged on the edge of the water with a landscaped courtyard in the middle. A parking garage, space for utilities and all the kitchens are located underground. The buildings sit right on the waters edge of the infinity pools and then look as though they are floating on water.
Chongqing, China is located in the central western part of the county and is known for being one of China’s “furnaces,” which means it gets very hot and humid in the summer. The main design strategy was to keep the complex as cool as possible in the summer. To keep cool, first by keeping the utilities and garage unground they could keep the utilitarian areas much cooler because the earth below and water above help moderate their temperature. Then the man-made pools and landscaping create a micro-climate that is tempered by circulating cool water, fresh air and the evaporative cooling effect.
Finally, the buildings themselves feature energy efficient envelopes to protect them from the heat. High performance insulation on the roof and exterior along with double glazing reduces energy loss and prevents heat gain. Narrow building footprints encourage daylighting and natural ventilation (when it’s not too hot) that work to reduce energy use. Then the exterior is covered with a shade screen of aluminum rods that have been optimized for solar passive design. These rods act as louvers to block out heat in the summer, but still let in light.
Images ©Zhang Qianxi / Luo Wen