We propose an alternative for sustainable tourism, a technical option, non-invasive, respectful and socially inserted in the community where it is located.
Just as Tierra Chiloé Hotel & Spa architecture respects the environment and mimics its surroundings, the hotel and its services are designed to minimize their impact on the environment, the wildlife, plant life and inhabitants, maintaining the harmony of the natural landscape.
With the understanding that it is not possible to carry out a project without generating some impact on the immediate environment, we took on the task of creating and constructing a building that, in so many words, manages to slow down its metabolic rate to a minimum without sacrificing standards of comfort. In fact, we aim to create a constant state of hibernation for the project, a homeostasis with its environment. With this in mind, we conducted a detailed study on climatic conditions, while employing a passive design strategy that permits optimizing natural resources offered free of charge, i.e., solar power, wind power and rainwater. We are able to store heat for use when needed, maximize the benefits of sunlight, use the wind to keep our facilities cool and well ventilated, store rainwater for watering green areas in the dry season, and reuse our gray water which is returned contaminant-free to the environment.
Our sustainability strategies entail making efficient use of renewable resources and optimizing energy generated by other sources. Since it is practically impossible to ensure a warm, comfortable environment year-round—especially in the harsh Chiloé climate—using only passive-control systems and our constant efforts to keep the project´s metabolic rate at a low minimum, we opted for extremely efficient systems and equipment and for creating an outer layer (a skin of sorts) that guarantees the lowest level of heat loss possible. Local tradition came in handy in this regard as we borrowed a traditional technique consisting of cloaking the hotel’s exterior in wooden shingles and siding, setting the stage for efficient building solutions, while at the same time making it unnecessary to import materials from elsewhere or depend on cumbersome, complicated civil works. This project capitalizes on local carpentry knowhow, the wealth of regional heritage we simply couldn’t overlook, which is why we opted for making it a key part of the project. Moreover, we don’t view sustainability merely a technical matter; on the contrary, we recognize that it is also about the social insertion and acceptance of a project in and by the community. Using local labor, feeding the local job market, creating employment and service networks with the community and fostering local culture constitute a large part of what it means to be sensitive to the physical and social environment in which we’ve become involved.