Yellow River Hotel / Sunlay Design

Courtesy of

Yellow River Hotel of , Mongolia by Sunlay Design is a symbol of the unique environment within which it is located. Situated between an endless desert and a lush river the architects used this contradiction to develop a distinct geometric form that is an icon of a rock emerging from the sand and weathered by the elements. The building mass is both above and below ground and posed many challenges in dealing with the relationship between the architecture and the environment.

More after the break.

Courtesy of Sunlay Design

Sunlay Design used the following methods to address the site context and the architectural intervention:
Landmark: using simple and geometric massing that stands distinct from nature to create a dominate symbol on the site.

Blending: Taking local stone as main material. This building represents a similar color tone and texture with the desert, which allows the architecture to blend and resemble the a rock in the sand.

Strengthening: The building strengthens the habitability of the desert while articulating the characteristics of the site.

Sight: The building allows the Yellow River to remain visible on the site and reinforces views of it through the east elevation.

Tactile impression: The experience of the building is enhanced through the use of a combination of different spaces, materials and scales.

Courtesy of Sunlay Design

This building stands on the spot where one can overlook the Yellow River and the wetland faraway, and optimizes the view from within the architecture. An interior landscape runs through the building in order to connect the exterior with interior. The cladding on the east part of the building provides full transparency, and thus the best views of the river. VIP rooms located along the eastern elevation are stacked together like crystal, where the rock has been eroded. A large dining hall is placed here, where visitors can overlook the intersection between the wetland and the desert, with the Yellow River flowing in the distance. A conference center and exhibition center are built along the landscape, thereby introducing a natural element into the building.

Architects: Sunlay Design
LocationXiao tan zi scenic spot, Jungar Banner, Inner Mongolia
Design team: He wei, Stefanie Helga paul, Liu wei wei, Fu chang rui, Li jie, Chen na, Wang guo feng
Building Area: 68204 m²
Project phase: Concept design

Cite: Vinnitskaya, Irina. "Yellow River Hotel / Sunlay Design" 18 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 15 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +3

    This is, hands down, the most amazing and inspiring project I have seen in a decade.

    From the concept, to the details of the execution and even (especially) the drawings.

    Hope this one has legs – well done guys/gals.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    Very impressive….. wow. Would love to come across this in the middle of the desert, one hell of a mirage brought to life.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I agree- wow. What a cool, distinctive project. Who are these guys? I’ve never heard of them.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This is indeed impressive. I thought this would be yet another BIG-like project, but was pleasantly surprised to find no cutesy explanation. The architecture is enough. Nice work here.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Great conceptual design, though it should be noted that this is NOT imagined in Mongolia. This is a concept for Inner Mongolia, which is a province in the People’s Republic of China.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Unquestionably consider that which you said. Your favourite justification appeared to be at the internet the simplest thing to understand of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed at the same time as other folks think about worries that they plainly don’t recognise about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the entire thing without having side effect , folks can take a signal. Will likely be again to get more. Thank you

  7. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    Very strong shape, which seems also correctly oriented regarding the sun.
    The problem is that interior space isn’t as ambitious as exterior. It just looks like any other hotel lobby.

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