The project is meant to be an extension of the existing “The Retreat” boutique hotel designed by ASA in 2016. The proposed hotel extension design is based on an overarching ambition to create a holistically sustainable building that merges with the existing built environment, follows the latest standards of green design, and offers an exclusive experience in the core of the City.
Studio Name: ASA Studio – Active Social Architecture
Design Team: Alice Tasca, Francesco Stassi, Zeno Riondato
Area: 890 sqm
Location: Kiyovu, Kigali, Rwanda
Consultants: The Landscape Studio (Landscape design); O&M Engineering (MEP design); NM Engineering (Structural design); Deliver Consult Ltd (QS)
Photography Credits: Asa Studio
The design concept is based upon creating a “village” for guests to benefit from the location and proximity to the central business district, restaurants, shopping, and conference venues, while still being connected to the beautiful natural environment of Rwanda. The scale of the construction, the selection of materials, and the arrangement of the site all focus on creating a unique experience for the guest while being mindful of sustainability and development issues.
The guests have access from “The Retreat” main area, where the central reception of the hotel facility is located. Then they walk next to the restaurant, the common areas, and the swimming pool to reach “The Village”. One of the key issues of the design was to solve the issue of circulation and the large level change between the existing hotel, pool, and the new addition, “The Village”, to enhance the walking-in-the-village experience. The two lands had a level difference of almost four meters and tight restraints between existing buildings. The design looked at finding solutions through a series of usable terraces, vastly improving the sense of belonging between the two areas of the hotel (old and new) and maximizing useable space with the landscape zones.
Through volcanic stone small retaining walls, green terraces, and vegetable gardens, the guests are guided through the slope difference and reach the lounge/bar space at “The Village”. The lounge/bar façade can be completely opened to merge the interior with the landscape. From the lounge, the guests can access the spa, gym, and conference room, or walk toward the guest rooms. The 8 guest suites are distributed around a small green courtyard, scaled and proportioned as a small square in a village. Each guestroom has two private gardens, one where the access to each suite premises is located, and a more private one, on the back, equipped with a private small pool framed by tropical vegetation and volcanic stone walls.
The design aims at maximizing the use of local materials, in particular timber and volcanic stone in a modern and contemporary way. Not only meeting the organization’s own views on socially and environmentally responsible design but also serving as an example for future developments in Kigali. The project also includes a rainwater harvesting system to collect water from all buildings’ roofs and store it in underground tanks. The water is then reused for cleaning, irrigation, and other non-potable purposes. Hot water is provided through solar panels integrated with the roofs, and cooling is achieved naturally through cross-ventilation in each room.