Changbai Mountain National Park Visitor Center
Northeast China is renowned for its unprecedented mountain landscapes. The Changbai Mountain National Park Reserve, in the northeast provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning, has long since become a national tourist attraction. This massive volcanic mountain range features Tianchi Lake (Heaven Lake), a stunning glacial caldera on the top of the mountain range, and is home to an extensive collection of rare and diverse flora and fauna species.
To ensure the preservation of this pristine region, the Changbai Mountains have been carefully managed with limited vehicular access and strict regulations on visitor usage. However, the popularity of the Changbai Mountains as a national tourism destination prompted the need for a world-class and environmentally rich mixed-use development within the reserve.
SmithGroup worked with Legend Cultural Development to complete the master plan and architectural design for the Changbai Mountain National Park Center and Resort. The new center, located 34 kilometers to the north entrance of the park in Er Dao Bai He Town, serves as an authentic, educational, and culturally distinctive mixed-use destination.
The new development also includes a visitor center, entertainment center, and indoor adventure center, retail, dining, winter garden, and residential units which ensure visitors with a range of interactive, year round programs for all generations. The architectural style for the buildings is an interpretation of the Changbai Mountain terrain; four angular buildings surrounding a central plaza. The water feature within the central plaza represents Heaven Lake, a significant environmental feature in the region. Each building has elegance and curved roof skyline, mirroring the mountain along Heaven Lake.
Anchored by two cultural institutions – the natural history museum and the ethnographic museum - a primary goal of the project is to educate visitors on rich culture, history and ecology of the region. The natural history museum is dedicated to exploration of the ecology of the area. Healthy open spaces throughout the development complement the themes exhibited within the museum and provide valuable ecosystem and green infrastructure services. The ethnographic museum explores the local history, traditions, and cultural interactions between residence of the region and their relationship with the mountain landscape.
The construction and investment of the first phase of project began in 2016 and will span several years.