B.L.U.E Architecture Studio creates a ‘floating' commune in theTANG Hotel, Aranya

Delving into principles of modern, shared living, the Beijing-based studio introduces a community-oriented twist in the architecture of theTang Hotel in Hebei, China.

by Anmol AhujaPublished on : Dec 11, 2021

Sitting in a rich cultural neighbourhood in Hebei Province, China, Aranya theTANG Hotel makes an interesting proposition through its structural morphology, reminiscent of a small village in itself. What’s more interesting is that on first glance, and without a knowledge of the interior spaces, the hotel would seem like a facility for group or social housing. However, through the introduction of a housing-like structural composition and planning principles: breaking down the mass, cutting down on circulation areas including monotonous linear corridors, and implanting community spaces in their stead, an avenue for hospitality design transforms into a venue encompassing a more well rounded experience for its guests.

  • The hotel complex comprises eight unitary residential structures of varying heights | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    The hotel complex comprises eight unitary residential structures of varying heights Image: Elichi Kano
  • The hotel’s ground floor houses the building’s public spaces, enveloped in clear glass curtain walls | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    The hotel’s ground floor houses the building’s public spaces, enveloped in clear glass curtain walls Image: Elichi Kano

Another distinction for the hotel’s design is how the segregated mass is elevated off the ground, forming a succinct distinction between the hotel’s public and more private spaces. Furthermore, while a podium comprising multiple multi-storey towers is now a common commercial building typology in mega-towns, the hotel, with its relatively stunted vertical growth, employs this architectural principle to great effect. Not only does this give guests their required sense of privacy, the building is also able to convey a material distinction in its two levels, along with an appeasing and generally fuller composition at street level. Evocative of Noah’s ark, the podium seemingly tethers the individual structures to the ground, while at the same time lending a levity to them, well perceived from both close-by and from a distance.

Three different specifications of white profiled steel are used on the building’s facade to add to the lightness of the structures atop the podium | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
Three different specifications of white profiled steel are used on the building’s facade to add to the lightness of the structures atop the podium Image: Elichi Kano

Understated in form and bereft of embellishments, Aranya theTANG hotel is a building that does right by the basics of architectural theory: scale, planning, and composition. As a result, a major part of its visual appeal remains subtle, and rather introverted. Admittedly, the podium and the unitary structures that rest upon it would have lost a lot of that appeal, had the site not provided an opportunity for a hexagonal outline. Surrounded by a number of tenement style housing towers in all directions save one, facing the southern bank of the Gold coastline, the site subsumes “a spatial scale and form similar to the city plazas in small towns in Europe”, furthering the community-centred narrative of the development.

  • The balconies are structured as cubical masses enclosed in aluminium | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    The balconies are structured as cubical masses enclosed in aluminium Image: Elichi Kano
  • The entrance and public frontage of the hotel | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    The entrance and public frontage of the hotel Image: Elichi Kano

The Beijing-based B.L.U.E Architecture Studio backs their intervention through an observational lens cast upon contemporary cities and society, making a marked conclusion on a leaning towards more individualised living, while addressing the need for community spaces to enable that. “The importance of community becomes prominent when everyone's space in the city is getting smaller, and people get tired of a self-emphasising lifestyle,” states an official release by the studio. Aiming to create a space that could combine living, communication, and culture to deliver a comprehensive experience, the studio attempts to subvert the dominant notion of privacy and independence of guests in traditional hotel design through dynamic, shared spaces scooped from what is essentially the 'living mass' of the building.

  • Several smaller structures are nestled amid the main structures, clad in laminated bamboo to deliver a warmer, more natural feeling | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    Several smaller structures are nestled amid the main structures, clad in laminated bamboo to deliver a warmer, more natural feeling Image: Elichi Kano
  • The spatial planning subverts “negative” spaces and circulation to create centres for community activity and interaction | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    The spatial planning subverts “negative” spaces and circulation to create centres for community activity and interaction Image: Elichi Kano
  • A walkway connects the units on the second floor, atop the podium | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    A walkway connects the units on the second floor, atop the podium Image: Elichi Kano

Enveloped in transparent glass curtain walls, the ground floor, serving as the public front of the hotel, aims to create a ‘broad’ avenue and open, interactive atmosphere for both guests and passersby. The roof of the structure is slightly cantilevered to offer an expansive edge profile to the buildings above: eight scattered units with varying heights, to lend the illusory visual of a small floating community. Adding to the lightness of the “floating” volume, three different specifications of white profiled steel are used on the building’s facade. Nestled amid the main structures, several smaller structures are clad in laminated bamboo to deliver a warmer, more natural feeling. Aluminium is employed in the balconies, enclosing them in cuboidal masses, making for yet another enticing front for the hotel. In addition, each guest room features a small terrace, retaining the possibility of interacting with the surroundings.

  • The site offers expansive views of the sea, facing the southern bank of the Gold coastline | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    The site offers expansive views of the sea, facing the southern bank of the Gold coastline Image: Elichi Kano
  • The ground floor comprises spaces open to the public, including the lobby, cafe, and bar in a relatively open layout | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    The ground floor comprises spaces open to the public, including the lobby, cafe, and bar in a relatively open layout Image: Elichi Kano

What would traditionally be discarded as negative space is reorganised by the studio to form rather 'natural' spaces for catalysing activity, while the different heights of the buildings help create a constantly changing walking experience for patrons. The sea in close proximity, revealing itself slowly as one moves closer to the frontal edge of the building, forms a special part of the meandering walk. While privacy is therefore ensured in individual units and rooms, the exterior is designed to break this notion and create a neighbourhood of sorts. The space of a home will extend from the inside to more places,” states the team at B.L.U.E.

  • Interior view of the standard room, opening to the community and green spaces on the podium | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    Interior view of the standard room, opening to the community and green spaces on the podium Image: Elichi Kano
  • Interior view of the loft room | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    Interior view of the loft room Image: Elichi Kano
  • Interior view of the suite | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    Interior view of the suite Image: Elichi Kano
  • : Animation showcasing isometric spatial breakdowns of the three room typologies | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    Animation showcasing isometric spatial breakdowns of the three room typologies Image: Courtesy of B.L.U.E Architecture Studio

The internal spatial planning and interior design of the hotel is, materially, a warm contrast to the icy-white exterior. While the podium itself comprises spaces open to the public, including the lobby, cafe, and bar in a relatively open layout, the first floor comprises the residential units and guestrooms. For the interiors of the contiguously bound ground floor, the designers claim to consciously reduce the application of an ornamental language, while relying on the soft light and shadows cast by the daylight that trickles in due to the expansive fenestrations, the ocean air, and the landscape surrounding the property to become protagonists of the space.

  • Birds’ eye view of the site | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    Birds’ eye view of the site Image: Courtesy of B.L.U.E Architecture Studio
  • Isometric view of the podium and individual structures, along with the walkway | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    Isometric view of the podium and individual structures, along with the walkway Image: Courtesy of B.L.U.E Architecture Studio
  • Aranya theTANG Hotel: Floor Plans | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    Aranya theTANG Hotel: Floor Plans Image: Courtesy of B.L.U.E Architecture Studio
  • Aranya theTANG Hotel: Concept Sketches | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
    Aranya theTANG Hotel: Concept Sketches Image: Courtesy of B.L.U.E Architecture Studio

The rooms, consisting primarily of suites designed for family trips, have two additional typologies to accommodate guests travelling more economically: loft rooms, totalling  36㎡ in area, and standard rooms, spread over 26㎡, located on the upper levels. The interior palette of these rooms is rounded out in wood, stucco, and travertine, adding to the overall simplistic outlook of the building. The podium level also consists of a shared living room facing the sea, exemplary of the shared public spaces definitive of the hotel complex.

04 mins watch Aranya theTANG Hotel: an avenue for hospitality design encompassing a more well rounded community experience for guests | Aranya theTANG Hotel | B.L.U.E Architecture Studio | STIRworld
Aranya theTANG Hotel: an avenue for hospitality design encompassing a more well rounded community experience for guests Video: Courtesy of B.L.U.E Architecture Studio

Project Details

Name: Aranya theTANG hotel
Location: Qinhuangdao, Hebei, China
Architects: B.L.U.E. Architecture Studio
Project Team: Shuhei Aoyama, Yoko Fujii, Lingzi Liu, Nailun Chen, Meiqing Le, Naixin Shi, Xuanjin He
Lighting Designer: B.L.U.E. Architecture Studio
Client: theTang
Site Area: 1350m²
Gross Built Area: 3000m²

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