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Ole Scheeren designs vertical jungle resort complex in China

by Megan Whitby | 16 Mar 2022
Sanya Horizons will respect the planet and the beautiful nature surrounding the property
– Ole Scheeren

German architect Ole Scheeren has won a design competition for his vision for a tropical resort complex in the beachfront city of Sanya, on the Chinese island of Hainan.

Scheduled to open in 2026, Sanya Horizons has been designed for developer CDF Investment & Development and will be sited on 83,500sq m of lush beachfront property.

The property will consist of two hotels under IHG luxury brands – The Regent Sanya Bay and Hotel Indigo Sanya Bay. The hotels will sit on top of each other to occupy a smaller footprint and also match Scheeren’s signature architectural style of stacked cube formations.

Technical drawings indicate plans for wellness facilities and a pool spread across a public Sky Deck with impressive oceanfront views.

Pitched to become one of the largest in the world, the infinity-edge pool will span 153 metres in width and cantilever above the ocean, projecting bathing guests towards the surf of the beach in mid-air.

Sanya Horizons will rise 160m above the waterfront and is being conceptualised to embrace, integrate and amplify the surrounding nature to create a unique ecological leisure destination.

Hanging gardens

Every hotel room at the property will be given its own private terrace with unobstructed sea views. Within the horizontal openings, additional exclusive Horizon Villas will feature their own private terraces and swimming pools.

Through the offsets and openings between the stacked volumes, a variety of natural plantings and gardens will emerge throughout the building, almost doubling the amount of green space on the site.

Providing a vertical jungle, the ‘hanging gardens’ will be experienced on every floor and from every guest room, to provide a more holistic resort experience.

The property will be complete with experiential amenities dispersed across the Sky Terrace and Sky Deck, including restaurants, lounges and verdant landscaping.

Sustainability Besides the overall structural efficiency of the combined hotel volumes, the multiple large scale openings of the building are being included to increase the porosity and thereby minimise structural wind loads.

Single-loaded hotel room layouts will allow for complete natural cross-ventilation and reduce the need for mechanical cooling.

The façade will consist of a deep hexagonal grid of balconies and walkways that provides complete protection from the sun and dramatically further reduce the building’s energy footprint.

“Through those strategic measures – combined with the integration of abundant greenery throughout the building – Sanya Horizons will yield a highly environmentally responsible and sustainable performance out of respect for the planet and the beautiful nature surrounding the project,” explained Scheeren.

A living landscape

Returning to the ground level, the gentle, undulating landscape – maximised through the vertical stacking of the hotels – will echo the ocean waves.

Due to become home to various unique species, biotopes, pavilions and experiences, these gardens will further complement and blend the natural with the built environment.

This will create what architect Ole Scheeren describes as “the merging of architecture and nature into a space of synergetic habitat” – a new, natural space of living combined with an experiential diversity and richness not otherwise possible.

Ole Scheeren  IHG 
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German architect Ole Scheeren has won a design competition for his vision for a tropical resort complex in the beachfront city of Sanya, on the Chinese island of Hainan. Scheduled to open in 2026, Sanya Horizons has been designed for developer CDF Investment & Development and will be sited on 83,500sq m of lush beachfront property. The property will consist of two hotels under IHG luxury brands – The Regent
Providing a vertical jungle, the ‘hanging gardens’ will be experienced on every floor and from every guest room / Buro Ole Scheeren
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Robert D Henry Architects (RDH-Architects) was founded in 1990 in New York City by Bob Henry, known as the “sensuous architect of serenity.”
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