The Capsule Hotel

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Axonometric, Render, Students

The Capsule Hotel

Zhong Ji Cai

Prof Robert Mellin @ McGill University

*This post is part of a collaboration with McGill Univeristy where we will be sharing a selection of unrealized student projects.


Zhong Ji Cai designs a capsule hotel for cyclists. Inspired by bicycle mechanisms, the building has rotating storage towers that display bikes. Built for the Griffintown area of Montreal, along Peel Basin, it draws inspiration from the materiality and grittiness of its industrial past. The facade is composed of concrete and copper, changing appearance as they age, slowly developing a timeless quality.

Cyclist Hotel Zhong Ji CaiInterview

Who influences you graphically?

I was influenced by Moreau Kusunoki’s axonometric drawings for the Guggenheim Helsinki submission. The act of including everything – people, objects, cars, roads, trees, and buildings – brings a building closer to reality and gives it life in relation to our city. In this case, an abundance of information actually makes the building more desirable. I was also very much influenced by various student works that included isometric/collage drawings.

To what extent do you agree with the notion of the axonometric as the most complete form of drawing?

I think the act of Axonometric drawings can provide a glimpse of the new world that a building creates, by revealing both the interior and exterior space in a single image. By adding people and objects, the building comes alive and reveals aesthetic, program, experience, and context.

Axonometric V2

What is your take on the render? What programs did you use for the final renders?

Renders are a nice way to create a visionary image for the experience for your design. They give the viewer a good idea of what it would be like to stand in the presence of a building. Combined with photoshop, they are a good way to spice up a presentation. The downside is that they are not always realistic, even though they pretend to be.

This building was modelled in Sketchup and Rhino. Rendered with 3Ds max and edited with Photoshop.

18 Night Render

How could the proposal be explored more through a variety of different drawings?

Sectional perspectives would be a great alternative for showing both context and building interior. For this particular project it would be important to show the qualities of each level in relation to the different public passageways. They can be done in both a realistic or in an artistic style.



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