Building up is no new idea in a city. But stacking buildings vertically one on top of another may be a bit too extreme for some. Judging by the 30 comments following the Dezeen article on the Shelf Hotel in Xian, China, I’m not sure people are ready to see whole cities go vertical. That’s not to say that everyone dislikes the idea, though. Plenty of people commented in favor of the idea and one went so far as to say “the messy aggregation of different facades is in a way very ‘Chinese.’ ”
The design for the new hotel by 3Gatti essentially stacks rows of smaller buildings, creating so-called “shelves.” Aptly named the Shelf Hotel, the designers say that the building is meant to be a landmark that satisfies the needs of the many different inhabitants in the budding city. Dezeen writer Amy Frearson reports that 3Gatti architects had this to say about the design’s concept:
This building wants to be an open matrix to be filled during time with the mutating expectations from a growing culture and society. This matrix will be the more expensive part of the building that of course is the structure, the only element very difficult to mutate during time.
The Shelf Hotel proposal, not yet approved by local authorities, resembles James Wines’ High Rise Homes design from 1981, one reader points out. Another person notes its similarity to A.B. Walker's 1909 stacked houses cartoon. A third person comments that, while an interesting idea, it will never happen because it will be too expensive.
But we’re already stacking toys, clothes, and food. So why not hotels?