Described by Mark Twain as “the fairest picture the whole earth affords,” Lake Tahoe served as the setting for B/a students Wei Dai and Minku Jeon’s award-winning design The Lotus Resort Hotel. Earlier this month, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture named the Lotus Resort Hotel design the second place winner in their annual Fabric in Architecture competition. The competition asked participants to investigate the integration of fabric structures into a resort hotel while incorporating into their designs original ideas related to scope, scale, and responses to environmental conditions such as location, climate, and culture.
Inspired by nature and water’s identification as “the very essence of life,” Dai and Jeon’s design sought to connect people with the natural environment through not only the visual experience, but through a sensual connection with the body as well. Using the structure of the lily-pad as the foundation for their design, Dai and Jeon proposed guest rooms that floated on the water just as lotus float on the lily-pad. Each floating platform was enclosed with a lightweight fabric structure, taking advantage of the fabric’s lightweight construction and inherent tensile and compressive abilities. Anchored to the bottom of the lake in a similar fashion to how lily-pads exist in nature, the floating rooms would allow guests to live and sleep in harmony with the gentle waves of Lake Tahoe.
While offering what Dai and Jeon described as a series of multi-sensory experiences with nature, the design also lended itself to fostering opportunities for social interaction. As stated by Dai and Jeon, “beautiful moments are best when sharing with friends,” and in this light, the guest rooms were designed with the ability to anchor to each other within their floating areas. An additional larger, main platform would be used for public program functions.
Described by the members of the competition jury, which included leading designers and technical experts, as “both romantic and adventurous,” the design clearly stood out from its competition by displaying “an evident comprehensive understanding of the tensile roof system” that was deployed. The jury further noted that, “with fewer complexities and challenges of a large-scale project, the design has an overall greater sense of detail and thoughtful refinement.”
Dai and Jeon’s design proposal was prepared as part of the Department of Architecture’s ARC404 Design Practicum ‘Collaboration + Competition’ led by Professor Brian Carter and Adjunct Professor Michael Williams. The Lotus Resort Hotel will be exhibited at the 2014 ACSA Annual Meeting in Miami in April and the 2014 National Convention of the American Institute of Architects. More information about the competition can be found at http://acsa-arch.org/programs-events/competitions/2012-13-fabric-in-architecture/2012-13-fabric-competition-winners and more information about the students and design can be found at http://ap.buffalo.edu/.
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