It may not be a hotel, but Timothy Oulton Studio’s Halodome was meaningfully created ahead of its time to shelter a luxurious home-from-home. Its dynamically designed interiors are enclosed under a dome structure – and its naturally isolating features meet the new demands of modern travellers…
Originally conceived as a refuge for visitors, Timothy Oulton Studio’s Halodome, which is nestled at the centre of a mature lychee garden in southern China, has evolved into a living, breathing test bed – the kind of experiment in sustainable architecture, materiality and hospitality that can only happen meaningfully over the course of time.
The current global situation has only served to push this testing bed to new extremes, with co-founders Timothy Oulton and Simon Laws establishing the garden their base for 2020, allowing them to continue working whilst riding out the storm.
“The Halodome is China’s first residential building certified to German Passivhaus standard.”
Designed and built entirely by the practice, the Halodome is China’s first residential building certified to German Passivhaus standard. It uses sustainably sourced FSC and reclaimed timbers alongside high performance glazing to create a soaring column free space that can be internally configured to suit the varying needs of visitors who arrive from all four corners of the globe, with guests typically staying for anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.
More recently however, Oulton and Laws have found themselves part of a small group, residing permanently in the garden; using the dome as a base from which to continue working on projects whilst simultaneously contemplating what the future holds for hospitality and design post-Covid 19. Time spent in the dome living, working and hosting local industry leaders as their businesses began to emerge from lockdown has proved an invaluable insight. It is precisely Halodome’s ability to offer a hospitable environment bridging the gap between living and visiting that has stimulated so much interest in the design this year.
“Furthermore, it [the Halodome] can offer guests the chance to escape crowded cities and reconnect with nature.” – Simon Laws, co-founder, Timothy Oulton Studio.
“The hospitality sector in is in a deep period of reflection and transition,” Laws told Hotel Designs. “Hoteliers are looking to pivot their businesses and adapt to the new normal. At the same time, there is an opportunity for the industry to actively turn towards a more sustainable future. What the Halodome does rather successfully is offer a multipurpose space that meets unique new demands – it is in itself a bubble, cocooning its occupants safely in a manner that can be easily adapted to individual or group needs. Furthermore, it can offer guests the chance to escape crowded cities and reconnect with nature in a really unique setting.”
The Halodome’s ecological, logistical and long-term fiscal credentials undoubtedly play a part in concept’s appeal to the sector. The prefabricated building can be shipped anywhere in the world in just three containers, which can be combined with the shipping of pieces crafted by the studio’s sister company – the global furniture manufacturer Timothy Oulton – to offer an entire hospitality solution where needed. Its passive energy design principles take careful consideration of sun control, ventilation and insulation, combined with modern, high performance and recycled materials, to create a building with a smaller ecological footprint and ongoing energy cost savings.
Hoteliers have found themselves charting unknown territory and the Timothy Oulton Studio team believes concepts like the Halodome can help to navigate these choppy new waters.
Main image credit: Timothy Oulton Studio