In their design for Le Meridien hotel, Shanghai-based firm Neri&Hu envisions a new landmark for Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province.
Henan, once the ancient political, economic and cultural center of China and home to many Emperors, today welcomes the international traveler.
To showcase Henan’s history through its Arts (of Literature, Nature, Food, Theater, and Pattern) the architects conceived of the building as an
"archive" of new and old artifacts that becomes a point of discovery for residents and travelers alike.
Externally the archives are expressed as cantilevered stacked boxes, each carefully composed with subtle ins and outs to break down the bulky
proportions of the original structure, while offering a dynamic visual counterpoint to the neighboring buildings. To differentiate the volumes the
glass front of the each box is a slightly different tint of green and the negative space between boxes is clear glass. The sides of the boxes are clad in
black and coffee colored metal panels textured with perforations patterned after the local Henan wild rose. Two floating canopies supported by a
cluster of bronze poles leads the visitor to the main entrance.
The 25-storey building consists of a 5-storey podium of public functions and a tower of 350 private guestrooms. For the podium, inspirations are
taken from the nearby historic Longmen Caves, one of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art carved into limestone cliffs. The architectural
expression of excavation and carving is most strongly experienced in the various openings surrounding the central atrium that visually connect the
public spaces across multiple floors. Skylights above pierce the space with shafts of natural light that highlight the sedimentary pattern on the grey
sandstone clad walls. Green tinted windows and an extensive custom designed chandelier installation fill the high space with a diffusion of light and