Hotel in Isabela Island

Location Galapagos, Ecuador
Date 2017
Size 1520 m²
Client Private
Status Not built

Between the docklands of Villamil Port and its beach area, resides a splendid space where volcanic rock – the configurative element of Ecuador’s Galapagos islands – shows us all its capacity for expression. This scene has practically never been seen by locals nor tourists, as a result of the authorities’ protection over it, as there is a latent fear that should interventions be carried out, they will damage the singularity of the place. The mangrove, the rock, the small pools that form next to the sea, the iguanas and the crabs create a landscape of special richness. Human intervention must provide the necessary spaces to improve the understanding of the space, whilst caring for its relationship with nature and the species that inhabit it.

After studying the different living and inert elements that form the landscape, the iguanas and their ability to camouflage themselves in the rock was what surprised us the most. The iguanas arrived to this archipelago as terrestrial species with an orange skin tone, but were forced to evolve in order to adapt to the conditions imposed by this new environment, learning to swim, and modifying their skin tone to camouflage themselves in the rock. This adaptation served as an element to think about the materiality and construction of the project. It was clear that human intervention would be an artificial element and had to be manifested as such, but always in close relation with the landscape.

The construction will be carried out on the island through precast panels of black polished concrete with additions of volcanic rock. This concrete will give the building the timelessness essential to the place, emerging from the rock, through its tone, its brightness and its reflections. We could say that this beautiful and resounding piece has emerged from the interior of the earth by the tectonic movements that occur in the island.

The hotel is divided in two sides. One harbours the restaurant, directing its gaze towards the town and the access, the other larger one contains the rooms, completely facing the sea. The access is created between these two sides. The position of the building is determined by the orientation of the sun and the leverage of prevailing winds in the area.