Smoking Pines

Ziyu Shanzhuang, Changbai Mountain Villas & 390 Exhibition Hall

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Changbai, China | 11 Villas

A small boutique hotel in the Changbai Mountains connects
visitors to nature.

Steam from a reservoir delicately frosts pine boughs along the northern slope of China’s Changbai Mountains, creating the “smoking pines” that are part of an exceptional wilderness experience. To help our client launch a multi-year development strategy in the area, we designed a small boutique hotel that immerses visitors in the beauty of this remote and tranquil setting.

Using materials that reflect the surroundings and a simple geometric shape, each of the 11 villas in this series contains spectacular interiors that frame exceptional scenery. The VIP villa is an equilateral triangle that has a private roof-top and an edgeless, heated spa and swimming pool; the pool’s glass bottom can be viewed from the bedroom below.

The site also features a sculptural centerpiece we call “390”—a dramatic, cantilevered spiral. The minimalism of the buildings’ form is distinctive, but does not compete with the landscape’s natural splendor.