A sustainable net zero hotel - in the desert!?

Posted by Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling

It wasn’t so long ago we brought you word of Chengdu Tianfu District Great City, a green “city within a city” planned for Chengdu, China.

Great City is a project intended to respond to the problem of overburdened infrastructure in many of China’s major urban centers in a sustainable way — and now we’ve caught wind of another development along these lines, albeit in a location few would think of as sustainable.

Inhabitat reports that Chinese developers are responding to the country’s burgeoning urban population by constructing new cities as far afield as the Xiangshawan desert. The Lotus Hotel was designed by PLaT Architects as a prefabricated development suited for just such a city, slated for development near the Hantai River 800 kilometers outside of Beijing. The building will be built without the use of either water or concrete, out of made from locally-sourced materials. Oh, and did we mention it generates its own electricity and water?

Encompassing 30,000 square meters (around 322,000 square feet), the Lotus Hotel is constructed via a series of prefabricated steel elements that are fixed in the desert sands — which shift with the changing winds — and as such, requires no foundation. The building’s load bearing walls are largely responsible for its structural integrity, and a plaster made from desert sand covers them in an aesthetically pleasing natural surface.

The building’s name was derives from array of repeating square and triangular panels that resemble lotus flowers. These help to protect the building from wind and heat gain, while providing shade for the hotel’s guests.

All of this is prefabricated, saving on both material use and transportation costs. The hotel is one part of a larger development plan, which PLaT Architects envisions as a net-zero desert city that takes care of its own water needs on site (via rainwater harvesting and gray water reclamation, we assume). Look for the opening of the Lotus Hotel in March, 2013.

Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling