Named Dapi Mountain Restaurant, the building is designed to provide a better experience for visitors to the peak in the Dapishan Scenic Area, which is a World Geological Heritage Site.
Galaxy Arch‘s design is distinguished by the roof, which is informed by traditional clay sculptures made of local birds, nicknamed Gugu birds.
These clay sculptures emulate the “gu gu” sound of the birds when air is blown into their tail.
Dapi Mountain Restaurant fans out along the cliff edge and is intended to resemble the silhouetted wing of a Gugu bird perched on the mountain, ready to take flight.
The entrances to the restaurant are positioned at either end, sheltered by the oversailing roof.
“The architecture continues the traditional architectural feature of upturned eaves, gradually lifting the eave height of the eastern and western entrances,” said Galaxy Arch.
“[This] creates a sense of entrance, while lowering the height at the centre just enough to avoid any collision,” it continued.
Dapi Mountain Restaurant’s design is also responsive to its surroundings, with a height lower than that of the temple and the use of local natural materials such as wood, stone and slate tile.
“When selecting building materials, we placed emphasis on local materials such as the grey stone from the Taihang Mountain, wood commonly used in local ancient buildings and stone slate tiles that add texture to the roof,” the studio told Dezeen.
“We aimed to highlight the building’s ability to blend into the natural environment,” it continued.
The fan shape of the building encloses a garden with an outdoor dining space, a stage and a display of clay Gugu birds. Ancient trees on the site have been preserved and integrated into the design.
“The entire Dapi Mountain is predominantly composed of rocks with limited soil volume, [so] the growth of native trees becomes extremely challenging,” the studio explained.
“We preserved all existing trees on the site and incorporated them into the design of the courtyard and entrances.”
Inside, the restaurant is split into four zones. At the primary entrance, a micro-living room with wooden shelves and a counter sits next to the main dining area.
Bi-folding doors open up from these spaces onto the enclosed garden, where there is a nest-like structure that serves as a private outdoor dining pod.
To the rear, a kitchen and a private dining room are linked to the secondary porch via a curved corridor. These spaces open out onto a terrace that overlooks the trees on the hills below.
Galaxy Arch is a studio founded by architects Ji Xin and Ge Jiaqi with offices in Shanghai. Dapi Mountain Restaurant is shortlisted in the hospitality project category of Dezeen Awards.
Elsewhere in China’s Henan Province, Wang Chong Studio has created an art museum with rustic stone walls and a sloping roof and The Architectural Design and Research Institute of HIT has completed a theatre with a metal-clad exterior informed by the sails and hulls of ships.
The photography is by Lv Xiaobin.
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