Hotel Encanto: a large maze leading to the ocean

Aragonés creates a 'game' where everything generates a continuous pulse to the sea

by Malcolm Clark
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The Encanto Hotel was opened earlier this year at Acapulco. The project, designed by Mexican architect Miguel Ángel Aragonés, was built with few resources, simple materials and local labour.

The building attempts to retain a human scale. Sometimes narrow or even small in contrast to the great heights, there are corners where only two people can fit, very intimate spaces that protect the guests.

In this hotel there is no way to avoid looking everywhere, there is no room for distraction: common areas, private spaces are all designed to pass through the hotel like a large maze whose exits lead to the ocean. It is a “game” in which everything is designed to generate a continuous pulse towards the sea; to ensure that the gaze of visitors looking for and heading towards the exit always captures the ocean.

“Architectural works are always better off when economization prevails and the greatest possible content is conveyed with the least amount of material. To say more...while losing less: nothing could be more environmental or sustainable” says Miguel Ángel Aragonés. “The 'physical' aspect is measurable while the subjective element takes care of the spiritual, intangible one. The two aspects are equally important and must be in tune. The work of the architect who only takes care of the emotional side, becomes a kind of sculpture, a pure exercise of style. It is very tempting for architects to feel as if we were artists, but we are in fact a hybrid that must be well grounded, that must take into account the specific needs of those who will inhabit the spaces we create. And by this I am referring to their spiritual, physical, and economic needs. Without these values, architecture is too easily diminished. Efficient use of materials, availing oneself of all the resources that belong to a construction; this is a quantifiable, objective side that we cannot lose sight of, no matter how creative or artistic we want our architecture to be.”

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    The Encanto Hotel 87

    The Encanto Hotel

    Acapulco de Juárez / Mexico / 2012