felipe escudero's hotel mamallacta sits peacefully in the breathtaking landscape of ecuador

felipe escudero's hotel mamallacta sits peacefully in the breathtaking landscape of ecuador

felipe escudero’s ‘mamallacta’ is a hotel set at 3,800 meters above sea level located in papallacta, ecuador. the groundbreaking infrastructure is surrounded by a volcanic andean landscape and sits where temperatures are low and humidity is high.

the ‘hotel mamallacta’ seen from afar



ecuadorian based estudio felipe escudero has sunken underground the lower floor of ‘hotel mamallacta’ in order to minimize the visual impact of the building in a beautiful and natural context. the excavation resembles a giant footprint and allows the lower floor to gather heat from the earth. meanwhile, its stepped perimeter walls change in shape to respond to the different activities and to protect the building from strong winds.

side view of a volcanic andean landscape surrounding the hotel



the architect’s clients have requested part of the project to be made out of recycled containers. like antarctic penguins in the winter, containers are tightly arranged on the second floor to maintain thermal mass. this arrangement also provides all rooms with framed views of the natural landscape. every room has a rock-shaped bathtub that is filled with natural hot spring water that rises up from underground streams and is collected in the perimeter of the site.

exterior dinning area of the restaurant on the lower floor



felipe escudero’s ‘hotel mamallacta’ aims to resolve the lack of hotel and restaurant amenities in an area that is full of natural hot spring pools. the lower floor is composed of a reception, a local food restaurant and a bar, and the upper floor is composed of bedrooms and quieter lounges. the building includes a rooftop farm and solar panels.

medallion-shaped signage placed at the main entrance of ‘hotel mamallacta’



‘mamallacta’ means mother earth in the local indigenous language, quechua. the hotel’s graphic design was done by maria jose rodriguez, who emphasized the idea for pre-hispanic cultures, natural elements were considered gods. these gods were represented in myths as having both human and animal features. elements of that graphic design are incorporated in the architecture like in the entrance medallion-shaped signage and in the lounge’s wall tiles.

the lower floor is composed of a reception, a local food restaurant and a bar



felipe escudero’s palette of colors used for ‘hotel mamallacta’ derive from local aspects. the turquoise color of metal containers is inspired by popular local architecture. meanwhile, the reddish brown of pigmented concrete in the lower floors is meant to resemble an archeological digging of the earth.

the hotel’s graphic design is emphasized in the concept of pre-hispanic cultures

construction of the hotel is set at 3,800 meters above sea level

the project sits where temperatures are low and humidity is high

the prefabricated nature of the containers and the construction system itself lessens its impact on the context

birdseye view of ‘hotel mamallacta’ and its main areas

model of the project

detail of the model



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

  • “sunken lower floor of ‘hotel mamallacta’ in order to minimize the visual impact of the building”, not accomplished!, a turquoise bunker in the middle of such a beautiful landscape is just the opposite of minimal visual impact.

    sancocho says:
  • perfect for new mexico!

    orale says:

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