The sheep farms of Patagonia were the inspiration for this hotel. Not the traditional “estancias”, the warm houses closed to the outside world, but the splendid sheep pens and barns where the business of everyday life goes on in Patagonia - like the drying of sheep hides and other jobs done inside, out of the wind and cold.
Other Patagonian features - the endless wire fences, the shelters for the work dogs, etc. - are also recalled.
The plaza, an empty central court, brings the vast wilderness of Patagonia into the heart of the hotel. Two buildings for guest rooms face each other on opposite sides of the court, while the main communal body of the hotel is housed in a slightly taller block, set back from the others. The court itself is empty except for a few boulders. Like a forest clearing that makes you aware of the trees, it evokes both the natural landscape beyond, and man’s indomitable ability to adapt his lifestyle in Patagonia. It invites guests to venture from the warmth of the hotel into the world outside, braving the cold and wind in the knowledge that they can return to the warmth and security of creature comforts.
Life in Latin America places man in a more direct relationship with nature without the mediation of roads, towns or cities, as has been the case in Europe since the Middle Ages. Latin America has an ancient tradition of architectures in the midst of natural surrounds: signs of man’s presence, where shepherds and merchants pass the night or where ancient rites are occasionally performed. Today this culture helps the modern traveller from the big cities achieve a genuine return to nature, for travel is an opportunity to explore the world around us, like children.
For me, architecture is neither the shape of a building nor the materials used. It is about filling an empty space with objects, which in turn triggers thoughts and sensations in the ‘empty space’ of our minds.
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