Ecological Resort In Dominica By BURO II
The Mero Beach project on the small Caribean island Dominica is currently in progress. Buro II already built a project of this amplitude in Guangzhou (China) and won with this ‘Baiyun International Convention Center’ an international prize at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona in 2008.
The design of this hotel beach resort is a concept whereby a sustainable relationship with the local economy, culture and natural heritage is central. The hotel assimilates with the natural habitat of the island. The development of this exclusive residential resort of 22.000m² is situated along Mero Beach on the west coast of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Mero Beach is one of the most important beaches on the island and has specific and relevant social and ecological values. Both those social and ecological characteristics are related to the fragile cultural, economical and natural balance whose protection is paramount.
Mero Village and the Resort will together form a hub of social and economic activity, drawing in visitors who wish to experience Dominica’s unique natural and cultural heritage, local food production, crafts and skills. The Resort will benefit from, protect and enhance the nation’s world renowned rainforest, coastal and wetland habitats and indigenous species. As far as practicable, food, goods and services will be sourced locally. As a new cultural and business model for hospitality and regeneration, Mero Beach Resort will inspire and inform future developments towards sustainability.
Clients, operators, designers and contractors are engaged during the design, construction and management processes in the conception and enforcement of an appraisal framework which will aim towards a LEED certification.
Arriving to the nature
From the point of the arrival by airplane, the unique experience that Dominica has to offer turns the conventional airport-to-hotel trip into an exciting excursion through the rainforest. Rivers, mountains, sun, rain, waterfalls and exotic plants merge into an all pervasive green embrace.
This overwhelming relationship with the nature is the point of departure for this project.
Historically men have sought basic shelter, either against weather or for protection against animals or enemies. The cave in the mountain was one of the first forms of architecture. The concept of comfort has since evolved to a sophisticated level often to the extent of luxury.
For many people luxury is a predicatable matter of expensive materials and overcharged finishing. As Dominica is a different destination meant for people of discerning taste, the concept of luxury as linked to nature should be examined in a deeper sense of well-being.
Awareness of the nature
Being able to understand why comfort is needed is the most successful way to enjoy it. Our concept of luxury goes back to the origin, being the one that unveils the reason why this primary comfort has been sought.
Getting shelter when a sudden rain starts, staying in the shade when the sun gest too strong, rushing tot the sea when the heat slams, having a fresh breakfast after waking up hungry, falling asleep tot the sound of the waves when stressed, glaring at a sunset after a fulfilling day. Real pleasure comes from real needs. Making nature evident will make architecture stronger.
Architecture in the nature
The goal of the project is to create a dialog with the presence of the existing: the nature and the village. The main characteristics of the site are: the presence of the beach, the thick foliage all along the beach, the long and thin plot, the road running along the plot, the topography from flat to steep, the river and ravine and the proximity of Mero village.
The concept is to create a linear path as the central spine of the project. This promenade will connect several functions (casino, marina, shops, reception, parking, restaurant, beach club, et) creating a smooth transition from public to private. The beach will become ‘equipped’ featuring different grades of openness for guests and visitors.
A Priori, the high density of the program has to be distributed in a way that the impact of the building doesn’t destroy the richness of the spot. The new volume has been divided into several blocks creating a rhythm where the sound is the building and the silence the mountain. The buildings are shaped by a system that reacts by the position of each block in relation to the nature. The translation of this concept in sustainable materials and techniques, makes the concept of architecture in the nature, even stronger.
Always framed by the present vegetation and facing the sea, the new development will become a new landmark for the coastline of Dominica without overshadowing its reason to exist: the Nature.
Pictures: BURO II
More pictures: www.buro2.be.