Modern yurt as a visitor center in China – The Mulan Weichang project
The Mulan Weichang Visitor Center is located in northeast Hebei, China, and is connected to the grasslands of Inner Mongolia – one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world. Throughout history, the Chinese emperors held hunting festivals in this region. The project was realized by the Chinese architecture firm HDD and the main goal of the design team was to integrate the building seamlessly into this beautiful natural environment. For this reason, they took inspiration for the architecture from traditional Mongolian round tents and designed the building like a modern yurt.
In order for the visitor center to blend harmoniously into its surroundings, the Chinese design office HDD also used local materials, including natural stone, wood and rattan. The hardest part of the project was creating a relationship between the grassland and the building.
Many architectural elements come from the traditional yurt – the round floor plan of the complex and the facade design. Two large circles form the main living room and expand the classic layout of the nomad tent. This floor plan allows the yurt to fit in with the modern lifestyle. The dome-shaped glass roof could be created through the wooden construction on the facade. As in a traditional yurt, there are several entrances and exits in different directions.
The main core of the “Mulan Weichang Visitor Center” is the double circled lobby, the design concept of which is based on the interior of a yurt. In the future, the central library for the region will also be housed here. Local kids could come here to read and play. The open kitchen area invites all guests to cook together. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer visitors very different views – towards mountains, rivers or grasslands.
The main structure of the building consists of steel frames combined with three-layer low-e glass. The wooden frame on the outside serves as a privacy screen and was built according to the tectonic principle. All natural materials such as stone and wood come from the region. The construction with prefabricated parts made the ecological construction of the visitor center in the grassland possible. The landscape around the building creates a dynamic experience for visitors.
You can find out more about the project and the architectural office read on their official website