Nasouri, Fiji Islands
SPF:a sought to emulate the Fijian practice of utilizing nature and materials throughout the culture. The concept revolves around a design that co-exists with, rather than fights the intensive tropical environment. The studio proposes building skins of pumice that welcome the growth of moss, bromeliads and other plans because they are properly located and ventilated. Tall slender buildings can face west because of generous overhangs and a natural skin that diffuses light. Two apartment towers are clad in such a natural skin, a cascading series of terra cotta pipe planters. The vegetation dangles from the top of the structures, providing simultaneously a water-conserving drainage plan and a spectacular filter for direct tropical sunlight.
The hotel and office tower concept involves a series of vertical open spaces that allow natural light and ventilation to pass through open-air porches. The vertical “lounges” provide wonderful outdoor refuges, where one can take in a breeze and magnificent view, or enjoy the air of an afternoon rain while sheltered from the moisture. Diffused light enters guestrooms and creates a thinness and transparency that permeates the building. The hotel and office tower are clad with a double-skin whose inner layer is mostly glazing and Fiber Cement Panel, and the outer layer a twisted and ribbon-like shield mimicking traditional Fijian weaving patterns, or the natural vinelike patterning of the local Banyan trees. The outer layer shields against and diffuses the sun through public gathering spaces, where it becomes a horizontal trellis for the Porte Cochere and retail amenities.
Ultimately, SPF:a sought to harness the natural beauty, embracing the notion that buildings in Fiji get wet and stain, architecturally welcoming the cyclones the breezes and the sun. The richness of the design is found in addressing the richness of the very context of the project.