On the western part of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park nestled in the heart of the Hunan Province in China, bridges and pavilions by Martin Duplantier Architectes will soon grace its green landscape. Upon winning the competition to design this new route to connect different parts of Zhangjiajie, the architectural firm has developed a concept based on illusions to create a stealthy, geometrically designed series of footbridges to contrast yet connect the complex landscape of the forest park.
“The landscape is baroque. Unique. Breathtaking. It is a world heritage site. The mountains rise like nimble fingers towards the sky. The vegetation, against all odds, has managed to grow on this invincible rock. Faced with this topographical spectacle, all are left astounded,” the architect states. “Contrasting with a complex landscape, the footbridges are of pure geometric shapes, which seem to have been placed delicately on the carved relief of the site,” say the architects.
Designed to create a physical relationship with the rock’s surface, the bridge infuses a reflective quality to the entire setting. In the architect’s words: “The illusion of a mirror for the one, the fear of the void for the next, and lastly the setting in abyss for the final. The common material is reflective stainless steel for structure and black stone for flooring. The latter reflects the landscape when covered with water.”
Altogether there are three distinct levels at the pavilions – all constructed using the same materials. At the top floor, a terrace-panorama is directly accessible from the footpath. Beneath it is a cafe and its dedicate spaces. Going further down, there is a royal guesthouse offering a space to contemplate the beauty of the park. ” Here, as the crowds of the day disappear, the lucky ones will be able to enjoy the spectacle in perfect solitude,” remark the architects.