Elevation Workshop's wooden cabins surround Beijing spring

Elevation Workshop builds new bamboo cabins around the hot spring at Beijing hotel WHY

A steaming hot spring is screened behind bamboo shoots at this hotel near Beijing, which features seven new suites by local studio Elevation Workshop (+ slideshow).

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Elevation Workshop, also known as WEI Architects, was asked to design the new timber-clad lodgings for WHY, a hotel to the north east of the Chinese capital.

The team was also charged with renovating 20 existing cartoon-themed suites, and all 27 surround a small kidney-shaped pool.

Why Hotel by Elevation Workshop and WEI Architects

Rather than opting for one new block covered by a single roof, the studio decided to create seven individual cabins with mono-pitched sloping roofs. These are arranged along one edge of the outdoor pool on a narrow strip of land once used as a car park.

Why Hotel by Elevation Workshop and WEI Architects

"Soon after some site visits and exchange of ideas, we decided to abandon the cartoon theme and change Peking Backyard into a smart and design-focused boutique hotel surrounded by a bamboo grove," said studio founder Na Wei.

"When I was standing at the site where there was a pond, I tried to visualise the future new hotel," she added. "I believed what was suitable for such a limited and enclosed space was small houses scattered amid the bamboo grove."

Why Hotel by Elevation Workshop and WEI Architects

The houses were prefabricated in a factory in Szechuan Province. They were then transported to Beijing and assembled what the team describes as "seemingly random building masses".

The blocks are set at an angle to one another behind a screen of bamboo plants to give holiday-makers privacy. Each has its own bedroom, toilet and private outdoor jaccuzi.

Why Hotel by Elevation Workshop and WEI Architects

Windows, doors and skylights with electric glass allow guests to obscure or open up views of the common areas, including the communal pool.

Lounge chairs sit on a patio that surrounds this pool, while smaller lanes lead through the bamboo screen to each independent cabin.

Why Hotel by Elevation Workshop and WEI Architects

A sprayer system mists the bamboo grove to maintain humidity for the plants which, coupled with the rising stem from the pool, creates an atmospheric setting. The studio likens this to scenes from the writings of Chinese authors Yuanming Tao and Zongyuan Liu.

Why Hotel by Elevation Workshop and WEI Architects

"Walking amid the bamboo grove, our guests won't see the massing of our architecture but only the mist and some indistinct houses behind the bamboos," said Wei. "Their view will become clear when they reach the hot spring pool."

Why Hotel by Elevation Workshop and WEI Architects

"We have always been trying to make our design in a filmic way," she added. "We design moods we desire, routes full of changes, scenes that arouse sentiment, and various interesting real stories produced naturally with different actors."

Photography is by Xia Zhi and Ying Xing Team.

Why Hotel by Elevation Workshop and WEI Architects
Plan – click for larger image