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Elle Decor Italia

A stunning lookout with a breath-taking view in China

The Stage of Forest project by studio META-Project features a concrete and dark wood triangular platfom stretching from the mountains to a picturesque lake in the Jilin province

© Su Shengliang

The Songhua Lake Resort lookout by META-Project is nestled among the hills of Jilin, China

Beijing-based studio META-Project has recently completed a breath-taking panoramic platform for the Songhua Lake Resort, a renowned tourist destination nestled on the mountains in the Jilin province, China. A stunning lookout to enjoy the picturesque Songhua Lake, one of the most sought-after destinations for nature lovers in this part of the country. 

An ambitious project that blends traditional materials and a futuristic design to make visitors fully enjoy the spectacular view. The site, surrounded by a luscious nature in summer, covered under a thick blanket of snow in the winter, features a panoramic platform built as a sort of triangular-shaped “stage” whose design was made in order to take into account not just the building’s aesthetics.

Only after an accurate overview and the verification of the site’s conditions, the project began to take shape with the main aim to minimize the environmental impact of the lookout on the existing vegetation and maximize the view of the lake, nestled among the hills. The new panoramic platform gradually arises above an undulating path, just as a leaf floating on water. It can be reached by following two different routes: a path through the woods and a ski slope. In this way, the lookout is prevented not only from obstructing the view on the lake and mountains, but it additionally improves the experience by creating a constantly changing tension between the edifice and the surrounding scenery.

All photo credits © Su Shengliang

Since the orientation of the distant view and the close view is set at different angles, the building results in a twisted combination between the wooden upper level housing the lookout, and its concrete base. In this way, its characteristic rough materiality acquires a more sensuous shape that seems to encompass the beautiful natural scenery. Seen from afar, the “stage” is a dark monolith floating in the landscape, with a heavy, robust concrete base. By drawing nearer, the reflection on the charred cedar shingles – treated according to Japanese Shou-Sugi-Ban traditional technique - begins to turn silvery with the changing angle of sunlight, making the atmosphere even more surreal.

Upon arriving at the Songhua Lake Resort lookout by taking the forest boardwalk, the chapped surface of the shingles and the wooden texture of the cast concrete become tangible, continuing into the inside with a carefully plotted choreography of volumes and geometries that invites guests to visit the building’s meanders. Finally, you reach the platform level where a sudden opening reveals a stunning view of the Songhua Lake, winding in-between the hills, made even more magical by this unique architectural frame that invites the eye to discover all of its beauty. 


by Essia Sahli / 13 February 2018


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