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  • Hotel concept: designing a sustainable floating resort

    A render of a floating hotel in the sea
    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
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    Hotel concept: designing a sustainable floating resort

    With the aim to design a hotel resort that offers guests an unparalleled at-one-with-nature experience, AMA Design has developed a hospitality concept called GAIA, a floating eco hotel that pushes boundaries to re-connect people with nature. Editor Hamish Kilburn explores…

    A render of a floating hotel in the sea

    Focusing on the positive possibilities of the future, boutique design studio AMA has proposed a new concept for hospitality experiences in the region. Floating on top the water with a lightweight prefabricated structure, the concept of GAIA takes sustainable architecture and design to new depths by using active and passive means to limited the hotel’s energy needs.

    Render of floating hotel in Dubai

    Image credit: AMA Design

    The concept has been designed to fit into its context. Respecting its natural environment in a light and positive way whilst considering sustainable design and circular economy principles, the hotel fits into an emerging contemporary ‘Eco-Gothic’ style.

    “We wanted to create a new type of hospitality experience, testing the potential of emerging construction technologies to make a sustainable and innovative building,” explained Andy Shaw, Managing Partner of AMA. “Our proposal aims to allow people to re-connect with nature whilst making a building with the minimal impact on nature itself. “Most resorts struggle to give true peace and connection to nature due to their location and scale. We designed ‘GAIA’ to be as natural and isolated as possible, whilst giving a calming, immersive experience for guests between the waters, sky and wildlife amongst them.”

    Built from pre-fabricated lightweight composites from boat technology, finishes will be all natural such as bamboo and timber so that visitors are immersed in a natural environment framed with the sky and sea.

    At the base of the building, in the water, the emerging technology of 3D printed coral will be used and act as a support structure for marine life to feed and flourish underneath. This would encourage diving and snorkelling off the building and encourage an interaction with nature whilst supporting biodiversity.

    Sustainability features include:

    • The prefabricated modular design and construction system reduces wasted material and energy.
    • Marine grade durable lightweight materials used extends the lifespan.
    • Carbon is sunk in timber and bamboo materials uses above water, and In the 3D printed coral material (Calcium Carbonate).
    • Renewable clean energy is generated on site through solar panels on skin and water movement underneath.
    • Passive design measures in the shape and orientation of the pods allows for airflow cooling.
    • Marine life is stimulated on 3d printed coral underneath.
    Render of the floating hotel at sunset

    Image credit: AMA Design

    The timely hotel concept, which was developed for the ‘Shape of Things to Come’ exhibition at Dubai Design Week, has helped to shape future possibilities in international hotel design. Shaw explains: “It was developed as a concept for the exhibition, but all the technology needed to build it is available now and in use. They just need to be scaled up and made more accessible. We are hoping an ambitious developer takes it forward, or an established resort adds it to an existing offering as extra rooms and features.”

    Main image credit: AMA Design

    Hamish Kilburn / 11.01.2021

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