WORDS Cheri Morris IMAGES SAOTA via Designboom
Shortlisted for a WAF 2021 Award and inspired by the architectural typology of hut and kraal making and fractal structures of vernacular African architecture, SAOTA‘s La Reserve is a concept design of a hotel resort in Dakar, Senegal that makes poetry of the relationship between human and land.
Comprised of a series of smaller buildings in earthen attire – rammed earth walls and earth berms made using compacted clay-rich soil from the site, La Reserve sprouts between a meandering of existing baobab trees. As is custom in Senegalese culture, the hotel resort’s central gathering place is around the largest baobab.
Towering earth berms further marry structure with site, creating serpentine forms that both hold and hide dwellings from view to allow uninhibited scenes of the natural surrounds. The tall berms stretch into the sky to create thermal chimneys and naturally ventilated walkways, allowing cascading light to pool below while functioning as barriers to sight and sound.
Traditional methods of enclosing circular spaces, as seen in kraal and hut making, are contemporarily reimagined to result in a main building comprised of circles within circles. Fractal forms continue in the club stage and boma screen which feature traditional weaving methods, requiring intricate curved works to be crafted by local artisans.
Love La Reserve? Check out SAOTA’s first completed project in Bali for more architectural inspiration.