XRANGE Architects designed a hotel in a remote area of Pingtung, Taiwan. It was called the “Wandering Walls” because of the special design that meanders through the landscape like ribbons. This brutalist concrete building has just 8 rooms and offers ocean views.
The building was conceived in such a way as to erase the boundary between architecture and landscape. Its curved load-bearing walls, built of in-situ concrete, are vertically offset on different floors, so the layout of the three floors is independent of each other, allowing freedom in shaping rooms and views from there to capture the best views of the surroundings.
“In this remote corner of the island, it is very windy in winter and strong winds blow. The site is susceptible to abundance in a sea salt atmosphere, plus there was no access road prior to construction. In addition, the lack of skilled labor and the tight budget of the project led to the decision to use cast-in-situ concrete from the outset precisely because of its climate resistance, ease of transportation, and on-site storage,” say the architects of this Taipei-based studio.
The XRANGE designers designed the building with a minimal palette of materials and sought to create a sense of silence and permanence. The three-story building has no windows on the windward side, but on the other side, you can see the hilltop meadows and the ocean: floor-to-ceiling windows provide excellent views. Curved concrete walls serve as both structure and form, inside and out. From inside, and especially from the stairs, it seems that the walls hang over each other, forming a horizon at the junction of the sky, forest, and ocean. And on the first floor, they turn into a kind of console and move away from the floor slab, forming a courtyard. Throughout the perimeter of the building, you can see how the material of the walls changes from rough concrete to wood, metal, and tiles.
For the construction, local formwork was used from recycled and low-grade wood: panels 30 cm wide for large bends, 20 cm for tighter bends, and 4 cm rods for sharp transitions. “The highly stable formwork system allows for small errors that are typical of local workers, and they create characteristic “low resolution” curves everywhere,” the studio says. The hotel was complemented by an infinity pool with a circular view on the roof, from where you can see the surrounding mountains and the water surface.