Wutai Mountain Resort

Shanxi, China

The Wutai Hilton is the flagship hotel for tourists visiting the Wutai World Heritage Site, an area encompassing 5 mountain peaks and the ancestral home of Buddhism in China. The heritage region boasts nearly 1500 historic, temples, sites and artifacts. Private traffic is strictly limited with access for most tourists originating at the Hilton or the adjacent visitor center. The concept for the hotel complex respects traditional Chinese architectural and garden themes. The hotel overlooks a new lake and pleasure garden for guests developed as the thematic focal point and was designed for both passive recreation and a venue for a variety of activities, events and conferences.

Additional gardens and courtyards animate the grounds blurring the line between architecture and landscape. The periphery of the complex respects and pays homage to the native pine forests, naturally blending the complex into the existing mountainous landscape. The arrival courtyard was designed to handle the loading and unloading of multiple tourist buses at the same time while recognizing the need for it to be perceived as a human scaled space; a people friendly overlook for the lake-park. This was accomplished through the use of architectural elements (the overlook pavilion), and a rich pallete of paving materials, water features, art and landscape.