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Fragrant Hill Hotel

Courtesy of Fragrant Hills Hotel

Fragrant Hill Hotel marked I.M. Pei’s return to China, having left four decades earlier to attend college in the United States. Newly opened to the West, the client requested a tall, high-tech hotel in central Beijing to accommodate an anticipated surge of tourism. Instead, Pei designed a low-rise compound in a park-like site about 25 miles outside the capital. Rather than transplant modern Western solutions or simply repeat age-old Chinese traditions, he hoped to define a “Third Way” that would bridge the two extremes. The goal to develop a uniquely Chinese language of modern architecture resonated throughout Pei’s career, beginning with his master’s thesis at Harvard in 1946 and culminating in Suzhou Museum a half-century later.


Site plan / Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

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