Located in Guizhou Province near the village of Weining in Western China, the project site consists of about 7 hectares of land bordering Lake Caohai. Lake Caohai or lake of grass as translated into English is an important and well known bird sanctuary, particularly in the seasonal migrations of fall and spring. The lake's wetlands provide habitat for many species of birds - some endangered - and has long been a major bird watching attraction. At an elevation of over 2,200 meters the lake and surrounding countryside provide a pleasant environment which, combined with bird watching, make it a popular tourism destination.
The Client, CMPDC Ltd. decided to develop a small and intimate lodge with a hotel, conference center, training facilities and the associated supporting facilities. The project site has about 20 meters of elevation change from the access road above to the farmland below, which then turns to wetlands as it touches the lake side. The spectacular views of the lake from the property and its closeness to the bird sanctuary made this an ideal location for the lodge.
The Client, being very respectful of the natural environment and fragility of the lake, gave strong direction to minimize the impacts of the development. Sustainable green design solutions were incorporated into the planning and design of the development, from an artificial wetland to treat waste water to the use of locally sourced materials for construction. This also included the treatment of the site to protect the steep slopes from erosion and runoff. Additionally, great pains were taken to incorporate the ethnic Miao culture by referencing traditional patterns, construction methods and even farming traditions into the landscape design and maintenance. To this effect, the landscape design integrates local crops, with the intent of having the local farmers maintain those crops. If this is properly implemented by the client, the results will be positive both socially and economically. This strategy will reduce maintenance costs for the client, support the local way of life and allow the farmers to increase their income.
The resulting design meets the clients' requirements for the lodge facilities, provides a wonderful natural lakeside environment to experience and has a very small ecological impact for a project of its size and purpose. Given it's contextual relevance, it has the added potential of being socially and economically positive for Weining village and its surroundings. It truly belongs and is a part of it's locality.