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Palm Island by HASSELL

The Palm Island project takes its inspiration from the unique geography of Chongqing where the Yangtze River and Jialing River converge into one.

Palm Island by HASSELL


April 3rd, 2013

The Palm Island project is a series of five ‘floating islands’ situated in northern Chongqing, China on the banks of Palm Lake and Taiping Reservoir.

palm island hassell aerial paving

The design team from HASSELL, led by John Pauline, Design Principal of HASSELL Hong Kong, drew inspiration from the geography of Chongqing, which sits at the convergence of the mighty Yangtze River and Jialing River.

palm island hassell elevation

Housing five restaurants and a teahouse, the site “conceptually and visually connects the reservoir and the lake”, says Pauline.

palm island hassell dusk china

Patrons at each restaurant enjoy views of natural water vistas on one side and a private ‘water courtyard’ on the other, integrated visually through the creation of an infinity pool-style water platform – this gives the architectural impression that the buildings are floating on water when viewed from afar.

palm island hassell fence facade

Pauline says it was a challenge to give each restaurant equally good views, but not only does the water platform achieve this, the kitchen and restrooms are also concealed under it.

Water is the most important material in this project, says Pauline, as it “conceptually connects the existing water bodies, and also becomes an effective ‘elevation’ by reflecting the buildings”.

palm island hassell reflections

Pauline explains how the glass structure and external aluminium screens interact with the lake to give off a ‘musical quality’.

palm island hassell lake

“The architecture is frozen in time, but there are several aspects that create sequential experiences. The curved forms of the building and glass give continuously changing perspectives and reflections, with the white aluminium screen also changing visual density depending on the viewer’s perspective.

palm island hassell stair

“The rigid, but fluid patterns of white rods will always be viewed through reflections from the water. The movement of the water will continuously ‘vibrate’ the straight lines. The reflections of the sunlit white rods are highlighted against the dark tiles under the water, and during the evening the effect will be further enhanced with the lighting on the rods.

palm island hassell submerged walkways

“Finally, the strong wave patterns that are formed in the elevation are a result of the combination of using thicker and thinner vertical rods. The elements are all straight, and not physically connected into a wave pattern, and so it is the viewer’s perception that ‘plays’ to experience the rhythm and musicality of the space.”



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