Positioned in the heart of a resort area, JW Marriott Hotel reflects the surrounding water and its greenery-filled views with a unique design that emphasizes fluidity and harmony with nature.

With its breathtaking scenery and a taste of a life far removed from the concrete metropolis, the beautiful surroundings of Jinhai Lake quickly made it one of China’s premier tourist destinations. The flowers bloom in all four seasons, and the leaves are green year-round, while the lake is wide and pristine, with sheer cliffs and scattered pavilions and homes, making it an ideal setting for sightseeing and vacationing. The JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai Fengxian is inspired by the vision of water flowing over stones and is structured atop three islands that support the structure and provide space for the ground-floor hotel amenities, including retail, dining, and sporting facilities. The hotel is located in the heart of the Jinhai Lake resort, which is centered around an artificially created lake, and features 265 guestrooms and suites.

The spectacular and unusual wavy, snake-like design of the hotel emphasizes its connection to nature and fluidity, complementing the water and lush surroundings. The smooth, curving form of the east and west wings is structured atop three geometric bases, which support the structure and provide space for the ground-floor amenities, including the convention center, dining, lobby, and amenities. The dynamic form of the building also breaks the design limitation of the long and narrow site, making it the focal point of an emerging art, entertainment, and tourism-oriented neighborhood.

Flowing over the supporting structure is the residential section of the hotel, shaped to ensure views of the water from every room. Instead of a traditional hallway separating the suites, the design of the hotel creates a courtyard through its split-flow design, inviting light and air into the project, while providing a further connection with nature through the use of green space.

“As designers in the built environment, we have a great responsibility to the communities, cultures, and individuals we design for. It’s up to us to really understand how people lead their everyday lives, and how they think and feel, to offer progressive, intelligent, varied, and authentic hotel solutions that do justice to the vast array of human values and lifestyles,” said Xiaomei Lee, Regional Managing Principal, Gensler.

The circulation plan for the project confines automotive traffic to the northern shore of the peninsula while creating space for the pedestrian environment in the south. This exposes the guests of the hotel to vast, uninterrupted views of the lake. The convention center, which has busy peak traffic, is planned at the entrance of the site, and the hotel lobby is planned at the end to provide a more private guest experience.

The design introduces water elements on the site that connect with adjacent water resources and landscaped parks, creating a unique water transit system to enhance the hotel and conference experience. The movement of water is also reflected in several hotel terraces with clustered, outdoor gardens. The intent is to create several smaller enclaves where hotel guests can enjoy their natural setting and vistas on this unique site.

“We designed this building for the people to be engaged and experience the water. When you come in, you forget that you are not far from the city and you will be stepping into a still and calm environment,” said Jaime Gimeno, Design Director, Gensler.

Project: JW Marriott
Location: Shanghai, China
Design Studio: Gensler
Photo Credits: Gensler / Blackstation
Website: gensler.com

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