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Architects have always been interested in designing buildings that are in harmony with nature. Frank Lloyd Wright, for example, coined the term “organic architecture” and designed many buildings (among which this Circular Sun House) that were not only inspired by but also blended seamlessly with the landscape. But when it comes to building a structure that completely disappears in its surroundings, architects often design it so it mirrors—quite literally—nature.
This is exactly what Chinese architect Wu Mei did when he and his team at WikiWorld and Advanced Architecture Lab were tasked with building a series of cabins that make up the new Mountain&Cloud Cabin hotel in Yichang in China’s Hubei province.
Mei designed 18 timber cabins that serve as individual hotel rooms as well as additional structures for a cafe house and a swimming pool. The goal was for the “cabins to seem to come from the future, but disappear in nature.”
“The facade of the cabin adopts reflective metal materials, real-time mapping of the four seasons, the building exists and merges with nature,” said WikiWorld in a press release.
There are five different types of cabins ranging in area from 377 square feet to 700 square feet. The distinct look of each was inspired by the diverse natural landscape that surrounds them. For example, there is a 150-foot long wood bridge cabin that is suspended over a tea field and has its own balcony. Another type of buildings dubbed the “viewfinder” cabins by WikiWorld, have all of their rooms oriented in different directions so guests can enjoy as much of the scenery as possible.
Inside, the decor reflects a minimalist aesthetic inspired by Scandinavian design—timber panels cover the floors and ceilings, oversize windows offer panoramic views, and fireplaces add a cozy vibe.
Wei explained that he wanted the cabins to ooze a Nordic vibe because the surrounding nature reminded him of Norway where he lived for a while. “You can never order nature, [...]you become part of it. We try to design and build as nature,” he added.