The White Wolf Hotel sits low to the ground in the verdant landscape of Penafiel, Portugal, calmly set by forest and stream. AND-RÉ's neutral white hotel is no-frills in and out, its simple geometry free of distracting stimuli for visitors to enjoy a complete mental and physical respite. The hotel shares its namesake with a local wolf species, and while it bares little biomimetic relation, appears similarly at home in the landscape.
The White Wolf even travels in a pack -- rather than impose on the site with a single high-rise, the hotel's facilities are distributed among six different buildings, enriching the visitor's experience and increasing exchanges with nature.
The interiors of the hotel also offer calm spaces for meditation, reflection and simple observation. Windows all along the lower levels let in copious amounts of natural light, and extends the inhabitant's gaze out over the surroundings. The buildings' second levels favor the vertical axis over the horizontal, creating cozier, more intimate spaces with skylights for bedtime stargazing.
Project Description from AND-RÉ:
Completed in 2013 and recently open to the public, White Wolf Hotel is a series of buildings intimately related with the surrounding rich natural environment.
The built architecture is a realization of the holistic pretensions of the client. The built architecture objects, profoundly integrated in the natural context, provide holistic and spiritual experiences of calm, intimacy, meditation and retreat.
“…Emphasizing the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts. (…) Relating to or concerned with complete systems rather than with individual parts.”
The objective was, from the starting point, holistic. Since the first moment we knew this was going to be a special project. The challenge to create a place that eulogies nature, a special place dedicated to the body and spirit, accordingly to the clients alternative ways of living, and even the perception of life itself.
A place where the visitor is involved in the positive thinking spirit and embraces the related humanistic values, far away from the stress paradigms of contemporary lives. A place where one can feel the time slowly passing by, were it can hear the wind caressing whisper and spend long days enjoying the birds sing in the surrounding forest trees and the water running in the creek that crosses the site.
Due to the unorthodox motto of the project, the spirit and expectations from the clients were an inspiration and, at the same time, a profound challenge. One not only related with architecture, but also a challenge to us has human beings, forcing ourselves to question our practice common ground and our posture towards life. This was the only way – and what a good privileged way it is – to fulfil the client expectations.
The result is a place to live or visit, with joy, happiness and peace (so rare these days) with your own body and in with nature. It was very positive to remember that simple values. We now hope that architecture itself can trigger and provoke that same positive feeling in the users.
CONCEPT & STRATEGY
Instead of a single construction condensing the entire program, the adopted strategy aimed to spread the facilities through separated buildings along the site, adapting itself to the existing natural conditions, respecting and enhancing its values. Thus providing a more rich living experience, full of distinct moments and sensations.
The architecture shape, achieved by basic, clear, direct geometric forms, naturally understood and interpreted; try to provide a natural non-aggressive sensation and a natural visual relation between the user and the buildings. The buildings are meant to be neutral in the landscape, in a gesture that avoids an aggressive architecture imposition, but at the same time with a strong relation with the site. The buildings dive in the ground, in a unification process that enhances the relation of proximity between the user and the site, between man and nature.
The buildings provide two distinct inner environments/atmospheres, related with night and day periods. The lower floors, dedicated to common daily uses, are totally permeable to light, promoting bright spaces and an awakened atmosphere. The upper bedroom floors provide a more private and cozy spaces, with controlled natural lighting, opening to the exterior in generous skylights above the bed, allowing star watching before sleep.
Scope: Hotel and Housing
Status: Completed (2013)
Location: Penafiel, Portugal
Promoter: Quinta do Lobo Branco – Turismo Rural, Lda.
Architecture Team / Partners in Charge: Bruno André / Francisco Salgado Ré / Collaborators: Adalgisa Lopes / Ana Matias / João Fernandes / Pedro Costa / Sandra Paulo / Sofia Mota Silva
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