Quito is the oldest of all South American capitals and the capital city of Ecuador. The striking architecture in the well-preserved town became a part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1978. In 2020, Nicolas&Nicolas, an architecture firm that works in the domain of hospitality architecture, designed the Republica Rosa hotel. The former building was a republican patio house bought by a Spanish citizen from the Ecuadorian State in 1890. The construction process involved an intervention through rehabilitation of this property with pinkish walls and the central courtyard. As a part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, it holds great value and is a significant building for the city as well as the hospitality sector.

Old Building converted into a Hotel With Pinkish Walls And Central Courtyard In Quito by Nicolas & Nicolas - Sheet1
The characteristic internal facade ©JAG Studio

An Introduction 

The building, initially a house, went through a series of adaptation and transformation that involved numerous modifications throughout its history. Finally, the client decided on a set of requirements; an 11-room hotel with pinkish walls and the central courtyard while keeping intact the elements of the republican architecture of the centre of Quito. The boutique hotel, a materialization of the client’s inclination, stands out in its identity. Its characteristic facade in a republican style creates harmony with its surroundings. The former is a careful renovation that gives intricate details of curves, mouldings, reliefs along with its windows and doors that are all painted in a monochrome colour palette of pink. The application of the bold salmon pink that has now become a part of its identity, is a feature that makes the building stand out as its rich tone reflects joy and creativity. The central courtyard is another attribute that furthermore adds to the uniqueness of the hotel. 

The design exhibits a restorative approach. It has restored some elements that were initially a part of the house such as adobe walls, tile roofs and wooden floors. While maintaining the former traditional character, there is an addition of a few new components in the form of floor finishes and coatings. They are totally in tune with the interiors.

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The contrasting colours ©JAG Studio
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The modern flooring in the courtyard ©JAG Studio
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Softscape in the courtyard ©JAG Studio

Interiors of the building

As one enters the building, an inviting central courtyard greets the visitors. On three sides, it has more of a rustic look as compared to the distinctive pink internal facade. The rest of the walls in the building are finished with dark grey paint thus forming an opaque environment. They contrast with the internal salmon-pink facade. The flooring in this space is a modern pattern of the mosaic that revives the building as a whole. Also, being a two-storey building, it interacts with the human-scale. While planning the built space, careful attention has been paid to the human aspect. 

Besides, the provision of tall plants and soft-scape enhances the character of this patio, making it integral to house all the social activities of the hotel. It induces a home-like feeling while enlivening the space. The walls in the building are massively thick as they are built using adobe and stucco. As an intervention, the walls that surround the courtyard have plasterboard cladding which allows accommodating installations on the wall. The original wooden floors, as well as the restored adobe walls, create a cosy atmosphere for the guest inside the building. Moreover, lighting has been done in a manner to accentuate the interior features. In a contemporary fashion, luminaries of different types and intensities add varied effects on the diverse materials used in the building. 

Other architectural features

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Diagram – Flexibility of furniture ©worldarchitecture.org

Flexibility and Modularity

The ideas of flexibility and modularity are incorporated into the design of the hotel. Due to this, the rooms can transform according to the requirement. This concept was crucial for the building to ensure that it is suitable for its new use. The already fixed spaces of the existing architecture require movable furniture for them to function differently. Therefore, the local artisans worked on the units and crafted custom-designed pieces suitable for the rooms. It enables a single room to transfigure into a double room in only a few minutes.

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Arches as a part of the internal facade ©JAG Studio

Fenestrations in the building

The openings in the building are archaic in style. They come in focus as a part of the interior elevation of the building. Arches are vital in giving the structure its unique character that embodies contrasting elements in the facade. The combination of protruding window sills and bulging pillars with the open, light yet strong nature of the arch, forms an aesthetic frame while reflecting on a Classical style of architecture.

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Ground Floor Plan ©ArchDaily
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First Floor Plan ©ArchDaily

The hotel is a result of the adaptive reuse of an old house. A modern building in the cultural centre would not have fit in well in the historical surroundings. Thus, the intervention had to be subtle for it to remain a part of the context and at the same time, provide something exclusive. Nicolas&Nicolas designed a boutique hotel as per the client’s dream that successfully stands out from the rest in this category. Spread over 700 square meters, the hotel is in the perfect location and can serve as a retreat for a guest to understand the culture of Quito.

Author

An architecture student who understands the power of words and feels that architectural journalism goes beyond design by playing a pivotal role in initiating meaningful dialogue. He believes that architects can change the world and make it a better place to live, work and play in.

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