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Martin Duplantier designs Bridges & Pavilions in Avatar Land

Martin Duplantier Architects

Martin Duplantier has conceived a series of bridges and pavilions for a new route on the western part of Zhiangjiajie, China. The aim of the project, which was awarded first place in a recent competition, is to create a relationship with the natural landscape. .

Contrasting with a complex landscape, the footbridges are of pure geometric shapes, which seem to have been placed delicately on the carved relief of the site. Mirroring the environment, the first bridge is an elliptical disk. An off-centered hole leaves open views into the gap between the two rock faces.  A strong net allows courageous visitors to lay down in the void.

Set down on the rocks, the step-bridge has two levels to be enjoyed. The upper one connects the two sides, while the lower one is for experiencing a moment “in the air”.


Named the ‘Water Mirror’, the next spanning structure comprises an irregular set of stones topped with 2 centimeters of water. The irregular set of stones gives a feeling of winding path in the mountains, when one is attracted by the great panorama.  Every 7 minutes, the water disappears and reappears through spray nozzles, creating a cloud in the middle of the mountains. This cloud progressively lands on the stones, transformed into a veneer of still water. The common material is reflective stainless steel for structure and black stone for flooring. The latter reflects the landscape when covered with water.


Consisting of the same materials, the pavilions develop on three separate levels. Upstairs, a terrace-panorama directly accessible from the path. Underneath, a café and its dedicated spaces. And further below, a royal guesthouse to offer a unique space of contemplation in the heart of the national park.

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al images courtesy of Martin Duplantier Architects