China's 5-star rare earth resort
Gizmodo takes a look at the Desert Lotus Hotel and argues that the only reason this luxury resort exists in the middle of a sandy desert is thanks to China's rare earth industry.
Despite having only about a third of the world's deposits of the 17 elements used in a variety of high tech industries including defense, green energy and medicine, China produces more than 90% of the world's REEs.
The 30,000 square meter Desert Lotus is located in Inner Mongolia just outside Baotou, the epicentre of China's rare earth industry, and promises an "authentic" Mongolian experience alongside innovative architectural design:
Deserts and resorts aren't a great pairing, environmentally speaking. But the Chinese firm behind the project—PLaT Architects—managed to solve some of the structural challenges with building on sand in interesting ways. Desert Lotus doesn't have a traditional foundation, and no cement or water was used during construction. Rather, it rests on a flat metal base filled with sand, which keeps it stable like ballast in a boat. Inside its prefab frame, walls and ceilings are lined with a composite made from dune sand.