Groundscraper Hotel


TYPOLOGY: Adventure Tourism
YEAR: 2018-2021
LOCATION: Meta, Colombia
CLIENT: Private
CERTIFICATIONS Living Building Challenge

A luxury hotel specialized in adventure tourism.

The property is a one-hour boat ride upriver, and the river itself is ten hours from the nearest city (Villavicencio, Meta). The only access to the property was by river. Given the remoteness and difficult access, we decided no single structural element could measure longer than eight meters, to make sure it would fit in the trucks or barges commonly used to transport cattle in the area.

Due to this wilderness, there was no aqueduct, drainage, electricity supply, or drinking water. Temperatures can reach up to 30 degrees centigrade and humidity can reach 100 percent. In other seasons of the year, the temperature drops to 20 degrees centigrade and torrential downpours can last up to a week. This isolation, level of technical complexity, environmental fragility, extreme weather, and lack of a local workforce steered us toward assembling the building on site out of parts prefabricated in Medellín and Bogotá. At the same time, we also considered that, if necessary, the building could be disassembled at any time if necessary.

As a result, the construction was placed on a platform raised two meters above ground level for fauna to pass underneath. It also contained a landscaping system designed by Bas Smets, which displays plant and tree species as in a museum. Therefore, at the lodge visitors can become familiar with what they will see on their expeditions and explorations.

The building manages water, purifying it in natural wetlands for treatment after its use and processing. The lodge’s 3,500-square-meter roof has photovoltaic panels. The area around the hotel was reforested with native trees.

The building is a large eave, a metal, almost vernacular structure where columns, beams, roofs, and handrails are expressed as a purely tectonic system of a large primitive hut: a building that allows direct contact with the surroundings while enjoying protection from the sun and the torrential rain.

The lodge has applied for a Living Building Challenge accreditation that certifies the proper management of materials and the work, and that the hotel and building operations are not only net zero but also regenerative.