tongyi architects weaves seashell-shaped visitor center into scenic beach in china

tongyi architects designs ‘echo of the sea’ in Ailian Bay, china


Along a scenic beach in the Ailian Bay region of Shandong, China, Tongyi Architects designed a multipurpose visitor center in the form of a shell washed up by the waves. The project, titled ‘Echo of the Sea,’ presents itself as an 18-meter-diameter semicircular arc, touching lightly on the surrounding natural landscape. When viewed from a distance, the building resembles a small sand dune that grows out of the earth and blends seamlessly with the environment. The building incorporates multiple functions, including a café, rest areas, and children’s corners, while a long curved glass wall allows guests to enjoy panoramic views of the popular beach. 

tongyi architects weaves seashell-shaped visitor center into scenic beach in china

all images courtesy of ZUZO VISION



seashell-shaped building blends naturally into the beach


Besides satisfying the basic functions, the design by Tongyi Architects makes sure that the existing natural landscape is preserved and protected. The result sees a seashell-shaped building that blends naturally into the beach, while the glass curtain façade provides 360-degree views of the sea.


The project houses different uses, including a café set at the wider end on its north side, while children’s corners and vending machine areas are available at the narrower end of the south side. Meanwhile, two passages are inserted into the arc slope in the middle to guide visitors from the famous local Swan Lake trail to the circular corridor inside the building, where a foot bath, toilet, and shower can be found.


To ensure that sufficient sunlight permeates the interior and that the visitors enjoy the sea view to the maximum, the café integrates extended sliding doors that can be fully opened. Behind the glass curtain wall facing the sea, a semi-outdoor curved corridor is set up to connect various functions. In the design, by choosing special one-way light through curved glass, the interior also has sufficient sunlight and an invincible sea view. After entering the corridor, visitors walk between the delicate and blurred boundaries of indoor and outdoor, transmission and reflection, light and shadow.

tongyi architects weaves seashell-shaped visitor center into scenic beach in china



concrete, wood, terrazzo, and glass


Since the project is located within a seaside environment, Tongyi Architects decided to use concrete which resistant to corrosion. Inside, the wooden grille on the floor of the corridor can effectively filter the fine sand brought in from the beach and is connected with the more delicate gray terrazzo floor of the functional area.


The super-sized curved one-way laminated glass is produced by a professional glass manufacturer through a strictly controlled process. Through the control of the opening size of the curved concrete wall behind the glass, the building can also present an elegant and balanced proportion effect when the light is lit at night.


For safety reasons, a natural rubber material was finally chosen for the roof. Through the experiment of mixing the natural color particles of various colors of rubber, the proportion that is closer to the color of this beach was finalized, so that the whole building can be hidden in the environment perfectly. People can freely climb up the top of the ‘Echo of the Sea’ building along the gentle slope and admire the beauty of the sea from above.

tongyi architects weaves seashell-shaped visitor center into scenic beach in china

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