World of ice suspended above a Chinese quarry
Coop Himmelb(l)au's latest venture in China sees Wolf D Prix suspending Snow World between cliffs
Using ‘world’ in the name of any venture raises the public’s expectations – and can sometimes raise eyebrows. PC World, Peppa Pig World, Disney World and World of Leather all promise, well, the earth. But they could soon be outstripped by Ice World in China. This attraction includes an indoor ski slope, water park and five-star hotel. It is planned for a disused cement mining quarry pit near Changsha, the capital of the south-central province of Hunan. It’s a feat that’s being pulled off by innovators extraordinaire, Coop Himmelb(l)au.
The Deep Pit Ice and Snow World – to give it its full name - is intended for the Dawang Mountain Resort Area just outside the city. Wolf D Prix’s team had the idea of suspending some of these attractions across the pit, so that “the sculpted shell of the Snow and Ice World spans 170m from cliff to cliff over a sunken and hanging garden”, according to the Austrian architects. As well as flora, the garden will be home to a 60m-high waterfall, fed from a cantilevered swimming pool. Meanwhile the old quarry walls will be viewed from a safe distance and through glass. This is part of the architects’ attempts at “maximising the existing value of the industrial heritage”.
While our geography of the Hunan Province is a little limited, our guess is that Coop Himmelb(l)au’s landmark can’t be so very far from Zaha Hadid’s soon-to-be-completed and rather stunning cultural centre. The Changsha Meixihu International Culture & Art Centre will feature an 1800-seat theatre, a contemporary art museum and a smaller multi-purpose venue. Which might make for a welcome change from all that physical activity up the road.