With its robust forms that evoke classical buildings like the Coliseum or Roman thermae, and a certain rawness that echoes the later works of Le Corbusier, this beach resort comes across as an unexpected western implant in Europe’s antipodes, on the archipelago of Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific. Nevertheless, its heavy reinforced concrete walls – which, as in projects of Louis Kahn, offer themselves up to the light of the tropics in a most dramatic way – do play a key role in such latitudes: they can resist the intense cyclones that regularly wreak havoc upon those shores.
The hotel is located on the beachfront, on what was until now unspoiled land. Reminiscent of a native village, eighteen villas are clustered together amongst palm and coconut trees. The communal areas are located in a large, curved building that also serves as a ‘fortress’. The resort’s powerful walls, presenting the marks of the wooden formwork, open up to the surrounding views and allow for cross-ventilation thanks to the large openings that perforate them. These openings are carefully laid out and are intricately framed by light woodwork, the timber derived from local tree species, whose color strikes a contrast with the grayness of the concrete and whose sinuous shape may remind one of the windows in buildings by Carlo Scarpa.
La Plage d’hôtel du Pacifique, Vanuatu.
KGA Architecture / Kristin Green.