Singita Volcanoes National Park / GAPP Architects & Urban Designers

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Singita Volcanoes National Park / GAPP Architects & Urban Designers

© Adriaan Louw

© Adriaan Louw© Adriaan Louw© Adriaan Louw© Adriaan Louw+ 28

© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw

Text description provided by the architects. The extraordinary site is located in the Volcanoes National Park in northwest Rwanda and borders the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Home to five volcanoes and covered in tropical rainforests and alpine bamboo forests, it is best known as the natural habitat of the critically endangered mountain gorilla.

© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw
Floor plan
Floor plan
© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw

Through a government-led initiative, impact investing and ecotourism have been identified as the cornerstone of a new era of conservation in Rwanda. In partnership with the Rwanda Development Board, the project was a bold venture by developers Milton Group and hospitality and conservation brand, Singita, to support the conservation of the legendary gorilla population and boost the local economy.

© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw

The brief was clear: design a lodge that embodies the spirit of Rwanda and captures the sweet humility of the place. Conceptualized by GAPP architects and urban designers in collaboration with interior designers HK Studio and Cecile & Boyd, the lodge features eight luxurious suites, while Kataza House is an exclusive four-suite villa.

© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw

Scale and proportion were considered important devices used to prevent new buildings from appearing tiny next to volcanoes. To this end, contrasting vertical brick elements compensate for the low stone buildings. Oversized bay windows allow for perfect framing of volcanoes from all guest areas.

© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw

By promoting the use of locally available materials, the design aesthetic was inspired by traditional Rwandan architecture and a large percentage of the construction expenses remained with the local community. Over 500 local artisans and builders were involved in the project, crafting lava stone walls, impressive woven ceilings and hand-fired terracotta brick thimbles, ensuring an authentic translation of local culture into elements. keys, while adding significant momentum to local employment and businesses. Most rewarding and humbling has been working with local artisans to produce extraordinarily innovative products from simple, local materials, and inspiring them to invent new techniques that are just as authentic, but with a more contemporary twist.

© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw

All parts of the project, including the landscape, architecture, engineering, and interiors, were designed under a strict set of environmentally friendly building guidelines. A team of specialist consultants with extensive experience in sustainable design applied One Planet principles to reduce the environmental impact of the built environment. With buildings that respond to the local climate, the design maximizes passive heating and cooling and reduces energy and water consumption.

© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw

As part of the commitment to rehabilitate the land, understanding and restoring hydrological functions was essential. 250,000 plants were used in the reforestation program and all were purchased locally. A permanent nursery has also been installed on the site for the duration of the construction program and to respond to future reforestation programs.

© Adriaan Louw
© Adriaan Louw


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