A practice range for golfers in Guangzhou, China, reduces its impact on the land by using tensile fabric canopies
Mayland Lake Resort is located at the outskirts of Guangzhou, China’s third-largest city (about 120km northwest of Hong Kong), and is surrounded by an 18-hole golf course, freshwater lake, natural forest and world-class resort community. It also has a five-star hotel with several restaurants, ballrooms and conference rooms for business use. In short, a classy venue vying for international attention.
The resort’s clubhouse includes a fitness center and several related sports facilities, including this driving range. In deference to the project’s sensitive setting—the resort masterplan by landscape architect Huang Fei is designed to respect the site’s ecology*—California architect Narendra Patel, principal of Patel Architecture, “reinvented the driving range structure as a landscape pavilion or folly.” Patel’s innovation was to use lightweight and translucent sculptural tensile fabric canopies instead of heavy partitioning walls. Consequently, the upper floor of the two-level driving structure reduces the need for deep foundations or heavy columns or beams. Patel used concrete for the foundation and upper deck, but designed the rest of the structure as an exercise in tensioned fabric and steel. Columns are spaced to allow two driving stations between each of the ground-level support piers. With 30 stations on each level, during high use up to 60 golfers can practice at a time.
The play of light and texture throughout the project is inspired by the surrounding mountains, the lake and the dynamic resort community. At twilight, the entire building transforms when a programmed LED light show kicks in.
*For example, Fei enhanced the existing lake by bringing it further into the project site rather than expanding the developable land into the lake. In addition, Patel incorporated many green design features into the fiber of the golf resort, including energy-efficient lighting and appliances, water-saving plumbing, waste recycling, low-emission paints, natural materials where possible and overall low energy use operation of the facility.