PORTO – In the gently rolling countryside to the east of Porto, the Brazilian-Portuguese practice AND-RÉ has just completed an unusual hotel. Instead of containing the programme in an imposing, bulky volume, a small number of pristine, white structures – crystalline and abstract – are scattered across the landscape.
White Wolf Hotel is, of course, no ordinary leisure complex. ‘The clients are a group of people with an alternative lifestyle and positive, holistic thinking, who wanted to share their life philosophy with their guests. Therefore we had to understand the particularities of that lifestyle and the repercussions on the daily routines. Before we started designing, we had many conversations to understand their modus vivendi and expectations of their imagined habitat,’ explains Francisco Ré, one of the partners in charge of the project.
The different white pavilions provide accommodation, housing and – importantly – a common meditation room, and are partially sunken into the landscape, resting on a ribbon of translucent glazing, creating a strong connection with the site while maintaining a distinctive, yet unimposing and peaceful presence. This theme continues throughout the whole complex, from the white, sunken gravel paths that connect the various pavilions, to the light-filled interiors and the shared swimming pool.
The hotel’s ethereal presence is further enhanced by the clear, straightforward and meticulous detailing which is consistent throughout of the whole project. ‘Since our clients have a particularly colourful, individual style, we proposed an architecture as a neutral canvas, like an open background, where they could express themselves through personalising the space,’ Ré concludes.
Photos João Soares / Courtesy of AND-RÉ