The design of a deluxe hotel set in the Bardenas Reales Natural Park in Spain's Navarra region is informed by its surrounding semi-desert landscape.
Designed by Barcelona-based architects Emiliano López Mónica Rivera Arquitectes, Hotel Aire de Bardenas is a four-star property set on a wheat field within the limits of the natural park and surrounded by greenery along the banks of the Ebro River. Challenged by time, budget, and environmental constraints, their innovative and elegant ideas resulted in a truly unique design.
The creation of the hotel was influenced by the site and unfolds as a succession of protected and comfortable interior spaces from which visitors can contemplate the exterior landscape.
The location's sometimes inhospitable conditions (wind, dust, and high temperatures) lead to the project's name, which means "Air of Bardenas" in Spanish.
Large, recycled wood containers typically found in Tudela’s crop fields for fruit and vegetable collection and transportation were employed as windbreakers for the hotel’s outdoor spaces—stopping the strong winds while still allowing air to flow through.
From the exterior, the hotel is intentionally blended into the surroundings. It presents itself as a lightweight construction that can be dismantled and recycled, recalling local agricultural constructions such as barns and vegetable coops found in the area. It also follows the architectural styles of the region, which are developed around a central court, offering protection from the elements.
The central court opens up to a plantation of poplar trees and a swimming pool. The building is composed of a series of simple and monochromatic, cubic structures. Their dispersed arrangement provides views through the interstitial spaces, minimizing a massive appearance and generating an animated play of light and shadow.
The beautiful landscape reflects off the exterior of the property.
The entrance to the hotel’s main volume is through a plantation of white flower cherry trees. The common areas include the reception, main hall, meeting room, bar, and restaurant. There are also 10 rooms with private patios, each with a fruit tree.
Smaller boulders and pebbles were used as aggregate for the exterior and interior polished-concrete floors, resulting in a terrazzo finish that mimics the ground surface of the Bardenas desert.
The rest of the rooms are freestanding pavilions with large projecting windows that look out over the open landscape. The rooms are accessed through an exterior walkway, providing them with additional privacy.
The rooms are vestibule-like spaces with bespoke furniture designed by López and Rivera and crafted by the building's metal fabricator.
To reinforce the idea of the rooms as "protected outdoor viewing devices," López and Rivera created projecting windows without visible glass frames from the interior.
The exaggerated depth of the oversized windowsills are lined with plywood, making them cozy spots to read, watch television, or simply contemplate the landscape.