In a world of infinite scrolling newsfeeds, it’s rare for anything to break through the noise of the web and whole heartedly grab your attention. This project of the week was that rare case for me though. Xiao Yin Architecture Design Firm’s “Ranwu Lake Campsite” has been so masterfully documented by the crew at Arch-Exist Photography that I felt like I was transported there, and I can’t stop looking at this set of photographs.
The Ranwu Lake Campsite is in Ranwu Town, Tibet, China. It sports a high-end holiday hotel, bar, rest stop, medical center, and alas, actual spots for tent camping. Looks pretty different than your typical American KOA, eh?
What I admire most about this series by Arch-Exist is how they captured the structures of the campground in tandem with the environment of Ranwu Lake, all with plenty of mood. Contrary to most architecture photography that’s put out into the world, this set is dark and deep and a bit otherworldly feeling.
The leading lines from the glass paneled pathway funnel us to the building. The modular feel of the structure sets it apart from the ultra textured and tangible feeling mountains. This is also a great example of color theory, with the orange from the steel plating contrasting with the cool tones throughout the image.
I am drawn to the rich dark blue skies in this series. It gives the photographs a strange but special feel and immediately catches the viewer’s attention. The dark cold tones help distinguish the lighter parts of the image, like the glass panels and wooden posts in front of the main building. The superb lighting and the walking figure creates a slight movement in this scene without distracting from its serene feel.
The angle that the Arch-Exist photographers chose here shows off the shapeliness of the primary buildings on the site. The repetition in the beams drives our eyes towards the center of the frame, and as we look outward from that point, begin to pick up all of the fine textures throughout the scene.
In the center of the campground compound we see more variety in the building materials used. The tungsten lighting inside feels warm and inviting. The position of the person here is killer, I love that they are in the crux of the lines created by both the curtains and the glare.
Inside the hotel, we are shown the entire purpose of this vacation spot’s existence: the view. I love that Arch-Exist showed off the open air capabilities, the tub, and that unreal scenery beyond. It makes me want to book a stay here. From a technical aspect, I admire the balance in the lighting here. The scene looks real and non-rendered. There are the appropriate glares on the floors and soft shadows throughout. Heck I even like the wrinkles on the bed. But, despite all of this naturalness, the colors are clean, there are no weird shadows, and nothing is overtly bright or distracting, which is great, because the focus of this shot is the view.
The following photographs of the main hub of the visitor center fulfill their mission perfectly. They are warm, inviting, and cheerful. They are a perfect foil to the brooding and foggy exterior views. The repetitive converging lines in the ceiling are mirrored by the inlays on the floor, the tables, and edges of the chairs. The lighting fixtures are exposed perfectly. The color temperature is in the sweet spot that trends warm but stays clean. This series shows off the interior nicely!
Ah, now time for my favorite set of images from the project. Ranwu Lake in the evening looks incredible. Arch-Exist did a great job showing off the texture and material used on the side of this service center pod. I love the play between the metallic glitzy feel versus the cool natural scenery.
This image shows the curvature of the information center modules as they wrap around the main structure. The angle of this shot is perfect, and the rooms look like little beacons coming out of the fog.
There’s more fog, deep dusky blues, and the last light captured behind the mountains. I’m given a sense for the time of day – and even the weather – here.
We’ll wrap up this weeks featured project with the image that is hands down my favorite. Everything about this shot is stellar. I enjoy the texture of the locally sourced pebbles on the facade of the building contradicting the weathered steel edging. I like the angle of the building jutting out into the scenery. But most of all, I love that warm light from inside the building that leads us over to the forlorn figure on the balcony. From there, we notice the fog rolling in over the mountains. It feels downright cinematic.
Architectural Photography Almanac sends its many thanks to the team at Arch-Exist Photography. Their body of work is incredible and full of architecture amongst painterly feeling scenes.
If you have a project you’d like to be considered for Project of the Week, you can submit it here.