Spanning an archipelago of volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, Cabo Verde is an isolated country located off the coast of Western Africa. On São Vicente, one of Cabo Verde’s ten islands, where local architecture firm Ramos Castellano Architects has completed a hotel complex for a French trekking guide. The client had purchased an old colonial house on the outskirts of the town center, and asked the architects to develop a hotel for tourists who want to explore the nearby island of Santo Antão, using the historic property as a starting point.
By using the same implantation philosophy of the surrounding buildings, Ramos Castellano Architects adapted the complex’s separate units to the existing terrain. Designed in response to the sun’s path throughout the day, each block is oriented to face a different view of the island — from the city to the bay. The breakfast-bar building has been positioned to shield the site from the strong winds that blow in from the sahara desert. All rooms at the Terra Lodge Hotel promote cross ventilation and passive climatization strategies.
As the remote island has a lack of material and resources, the architects sought to simplify the design as much as possible. From the floor finishes to the furniture, many of the elements that make up the scheme are handmade and have been crafted by local people. Wood has been used for the buildings’ Gridded Verandahs, while lime putty has been used to clad the hotel’s brilliant white structures.
From an environmental standpoint, roofs feature photovoltaic panels, while water is re-used on site for irrigation. Recycled materials have also been used throughout the design. While the surrounding buildings contain 12 hotel rooms plus a suite, the colonial house now contains the premises of the client’s tourist agency. On its roof is a terrace where guests can enjoy a daily breakfast and views out onto the bay.
Design: Ramos Castellano Architects
Photography: Sergio Pirrone