Page D1.2 . 05 April 2006                     
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    Patagonian Luxuries

    continued

    For del Sol, architecture is neither the form of buildings, nor the materials used to build them. "For me, architecture is an extra gift. A gift of suggestions that may fill what we usually call the empty space," he says. "The place above our heads that invites one to daydream when one is distracted, looking away without any intention."

    Patagonian Pillars

    Hotel Remota features concrete columns, slabs, and interior walls to ensure room privacy and fireproofing. Waterproof plywood panels with a one-foot-thick polyurethane insulation core enclose the structure. The panels are coated with a synthetic asphalt membrane to provide the building with the weather protection against the rain and wind. The asphalt membrane on the roofs and walkways is covered with fine black gravel to guard it from the sun's ultraviolet rays.

    The construction process was sequenced to allow different teams to labor simultaneously. "The pillars and roof were made first to protect the workers from the bad weather," del Sol explains. "Then the structure was enclosed with plywood panels, industrially made and very easy to hang. Once the panels were fixed to the slabs, they were coated with the asphalt membrane that comes in rolls and is glued to the panels."

    Daylight enhances the interior's appeal. The ever-changing light of Patagonia enters the building through the sequence of vertical cuts of the windows, then surrounds the interior's large columns and slides along the ceiling's wood trellises suspended under the concrete slab.

    Daylight is reflected by the bright colors of the fabrics that cover the dark wood furniture. The Spartan geometric furnishings were made from large pieces of dead native wood recovered from forests of Lenga trees that still thrive close to the sea in Patagonian lowlands.

    The guest bedrooms also feature Lenga wood running vertically from floor to ceiling to support thick wooden benches, tables, and bed. The Lenga wood makes the partition for the bathroom, friendlier but still soundproof, del Sol says.

    Friend of the Environment

    Saving energy was an important consideration in Hotel Remota's design. The orientation to the sun ensures passive solar energy absorption, and the yellow-shaded electric lights are of low-wattage. The bathrooms and laundry systems boast low-consumption water fittings. The spare interior is uncluttered by anything unnecessary, del Sol says. This not only conserves resources but contributes to the feeling of serenity.

    The natural grass of the Patagonian plain is left to grow wild all around Hotel Remota. This landscape also covers the roofs. In fact, the roof's asphalt-coated concrete slabs are planted with a two-foot- (60 centimeter-) high carpet of wild grasses.

    Three wood-frame corridors connect Hotel Remota's three-building complex and offer a weather-protected shortcut across the courtyard. The corridors' low, straight rooflines form a sense of enclosure within the courtyard that, according to the architect, allows patrons to better appreciate the vastness beyond.   >>>

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    Jennifer LeClaire is a freelance writer based in Miami Beach, Florida, specializing in architecture and design.

     

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    SUBSCRIPTION SAMPLE

    At Hotel Remota, by architect German del Sol, low wood corridors cross a treeless courtyard of boulders, resembling the Patagonian plains.
    Photo: José Luis Ibáñez

    ArchWeek Image

    Slightly askew verticals call to mind vernacular sheep farm buildings.
    Photo: José Luis Ibáñez

    ArchWeek Image

    A warm interior protects visitors from the harsh exterior.
    Photo: José Luis Ibáñez

    ArchWeek Image

    Brightly colored fabrics contrast with the dark wood furniture.
    Photo: German del Sol

    ArchWeek Image

    Hotel overview, architect's rendering.
    Image: German del Sol

    ArchWeek Image

    Site plan.
    Image: German del Sol

    ArchWeek Image

    Ground floor plan.
    Image: German del Sol

    ArchWeek Image

    Upper floor plan.
    Image: German del Sol

     

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