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Planning a vacation around an impeccably designed museum, hotel, or restaurant is one of the best reasons to get away, in my opinion. And in case you were looking for another excuse to pay a visit to Chengdu, China, listen up. The new Garden Hotpot Restaurant is located in a eucalyptus forest and near a lotus pond in the suburb city.

MUDA Architects created a dining oasis in the middle of a stunning natural environment, and it’s the restaurant design that really catches eyes. The twist: The design cannot be fully appreciated unless your seeing it from a far away and slightly inclined view. From the ground, it may appear to be an open-air train of tables winding through trees with a simple rooftop of white galvanized steel supported by steel columns. But take a break to appreciate the scene from one of the viewing points and you’ll see what the architects were mimicking in the design: The steam from a hotpot drifting through the forest.

According to design website urdesign, the terrain was actually quite difficult to accommodate such a restaurant design. “Tens of eucalyptus trees must be preserved, and the terrain is tortuous with a maximum drop of nearly two meters. In order to respect the natural environment and minimize human intervention in this natural site, MUDA conducted manual mapping and recorded of the site in person, and the building was designed according to the location of eucalyptus trees and lake.”

Aside from leaving a relatively small footprint on the area, the building construction was also done with an eye toward sustainability. The crew working on the project had no specialized knowledge or tools; instead, the architects worked to make adjustments to the more complex structural elements for the team. Creating simplified processes like this makes it easier for future crews to replicate. To shorten the entire building process, the architects used steel welding to bond building elements—doing so also cuts down on the cost.

There isn’t much buzz around the actual cuisine you can enjoy in the wall-less restaurant, but our fingers are crossed for some spectacular hotpots.


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