Yanqi Lake: a beacon of sustainable design in the Yan Mountains

Located in Beijing’s beautiful Huairou District, the new Yanqi Lake complex will, in May, play host as 1,000 leading representatives of governments, banks, civil society, academia and industry debate and shape the future of hydropower. We take a closer look at the contemporary technology behind the venue’s sustainable design.

Kempinski Hotel

The iconic Yanqi Lake complex, which was constructed for the 2014 Asia–Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Summit, is situated close to the Mutianyu Great Wall in north-eastern Beijing – regarded as one of the municipality’s most environmentally friendly areas.

The most striking feature of the complex is the 97-metre high oval-shaped Kempinski Sunrise Hotel (pictured, left). The hotel’s compelling design is the feat of Zhang Hai Ao and his team from Shanghai Huadu Architect Design Company.

The building’s form has been designed to incorporate many symbolic features of Chinese culture. For example, the main front view of the ‘rising sun’ represents China’s fast-developing economy; the hotel’s entrance is shaped like the mouth of a fish, representing prosperity; and from a side-angle view, the building is shaped like a scallop, which symbolises fortune.

60 days, 60 designers

Chief designer Zhang worked with an international team of 60 designers over 60 days to develop the building’s concept. He explained that a diverse range of experiences were brought into the project “because we needed a critical view from people outside of China to give their opinion on modern contemporary Chinese architectural design”.

The hotel took two years to construct, with a team of nearly 10,000 construction workers.

Covering nearly 50,000 square metres, the hotel’s four-layered glass panel exterior helps to reduce energy consumption, while the building’s round shape helps to maintain the original wind environment.

Fittingly, the complex is powered by a complementary mixture of renewable energy sources. A solar photovoltaic system is applied to the main building’s roof, while a hydropower dam nearby on the lake is fitted with solar panels.

Furthermore, the building features an indoor air quality monitoring system, and is the first hotel in China to use a gas power generation system to reduce energy consumption.

Yanqi Lake conference centre

The conference facility

In the middle of the sprawling Yanqi Island stands the Beijing Yanqi Lake International Conference Centre (left), incorporating architectural influences from China’s Han and Tang Dynasties.

The conference facility’s design takes influence from Beijing’s Ditan Temple and the Imperial Palace. Its blue roof, which resembles the wings of a swan, symbolises China’s exchanges with the international community.

The centre features a 1,000 sq m ballroom, many meeting and dining rooms, and a 2,000 sq m outdoor space entwined with trees and flowers.

Breathtaking scenery

The Yanqi Lake experience is characterised by the picturesque scenery surrounding the complex. The lake and islands are set beneath the towering Yan Mountains, and the hotel and other buildings have been designed to make the best of the stunning view.

In addition to the Kempinski Sunrise Hotel and the conference centre, the complex features a number of other impressive new structures, such as the Jixian Hall, Yanqi Pagoda and several boutique hotels.

You can find out more about the 2015 World Hydropower Congress here.

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