Set in a newly designed canal town that hearkens back to Chinese history, Qingpu Liantang Hotel Project is the newest addition to Portman's vast design portfolio in the country. 

Atlanta-based architectural firm John Portman & Associates has won the design contract for a hotel project located in a “canal town” to be built on a forest reserve outside Shanghai. 

The Qingpu Liantang Hotel Project is withing a 1.4 million-square-foot destination resort where guests will be ferried throughout the property on boats plying narrow waterways. The complex will be surrounded by 1,600 forested acres, blending natural beauty with modern amenities including restaurants and retail outlets. 

Portman’s designers envision an “active, lively atmosphere” filled with boats, bridges and people, with hotel balconies overlooking the picturesque grounds. The hotel itself will include about 484,000 square feet. The design hearkens back to a time in China when canals were vital transportation arteries. 

“Architecture should connect people to places and the environment and we see great opportunity for designing the Qingpu Liantang Hotel in a way that meaningfully connects people with the vibrancy of the surrounding environment while celebrating the areas’ natural beauty,” Portman’s Robert Halverson said in a statement.  

Portman announced its selection by developer Shanghai Jiuzhou Group Co. in an email Feb. 25. Qingpu is a district in the Shanghai municipality, but it’s far outside the densely populated urban area known to most visitors. Shanghai considered a provincial-level city by the Chinese government. 

The project is the latest addition to Portman’s vast China portfolio. The firm designed the Shanghai Centre, China’s first western-style mixed-use facility, which opened in the early 1990s. Since then it has undertaken a variety of landmark projects in Shanghai and beyond, including the Tomorrow Square skyscraper in Shanghai and the Beijing Yintai Center

The announcement comes weeks after Mr. Portman’s alma mater, Georgia Institute of Technology, announced that it would put a joint Ecological Urban Design laboratory in Shanghai

See more on the Portman project here and more pictures here

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...