A+Awards: the African armadillo influenced the curved, scale-covered form of this boutique safari lodge in Botswana ? one of the winners at this year's Architizer A+Awards.
Designed by South African firm Nicholas Plewman Architects and UK studio Michaelis Boyd, the Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge sits in the heart of the Okavango Delta ? a UNESCO World Heritage Site teaming with wildlife.
Because of the land's protected status, construction in the area presents a number of challenges and any new buildings must meet strict requirements.
Each has to be fully built of bio-degradable materials, make no physical impact on the flora and fauna, and 70 per cent of energy has to come from sustainable sources.
The resulting 24-bed hotel is constructed almost entirely from wood and weaves through the trees around the site.
The curving form of the main building ? created by giant laminated pine beams ? is covered in Canadian cedar shingles, which look like the scales of a native small mammal.
"We chose the pangolin ? Africa's armadillo ? as a specific motif because of its shy, elusive and completely harmless nature and its ability to curl into its own protective carapace of scales," said the architects.
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Other parts of the complex have screens and partitions woven from eucalyptus laths over stiff wire, while decks and floors are made from a variety of hard woods.
Despite energy restrictions, the client wanted guests to experience the same hot water supply, luxury bathing and food preparation as at the best hotels in the world.
"The client expected a boutique hotel that would deliver the very highest standards of luxury to its well-heeled and well-travelled guests," the architects said. "The sorts of compromises that inform most eco lodges were not acceptable."
To meet these demands, power is sourced from a 100 kilovolt-amps photovoltaic array, which means generator...