saunders architecture: fogo island inn
saunders architecture: fogo island inn
feb 14, 2013

saunders architecture: fogo island inn

‘fogo island inn’ by saunders architecture, fogo island, canadaimage courtesy of fogo island inn



fogo island is an easily overlooked spec of ice located in the subarctic region off the coast of newfoundland, landlocked by a frozen sea of ice in the winter while flowering with berries in the summer, a landscape that has remained relatively unchanged for thousands of years; it is ‘far away from far away.’ its inhabitants are deeply entrenched in the seaward culture of the rock, including retired fibre-opticsbusinesswoman zita cobb who, shortly after returning home, created the shorefast foundation to organize and fund projects that will revitalize the small ‘outport’, making it a hub for artists and eco-tourists around the world. so far her endeavors have led to the creation of several artists’ studios located in various spots, including the tower studio, bridge studio, squish studio, and long studio all designed byarchitect todd saunders of saunders architecture. none of these, however, can compare to the scale of her current project being carried out by the same architect. the 29-room ‘fogo island inn‘ situated on a promontory off the northern side of the small land mass will contain over 40,000 square feet of program spread out over five stories, and although it is said to cost a cool $500 per night,it is already revered as one of the must-see places of a lifetime, beginning in november when it is scheduled to open to the public.


video preview of todd saunders’ work on fogo island
video © site media inc




wood is the primary construction material used, reflecting the vernacular traditions it also leaves a certain respect to the landscape that in many ways holds a much larger significance than any structure built on it could ever have. the massing consists of two oblong rectangular volumes, stacked at a slightly different angle to form an X. this greatly reduces the direct impact on the site while still providing the necessary area without creating a massive construct that sits completely out of scale with the context. the ground floor is reserved for a restaurant led by one of canada’s highest ranked chefs, the main lobby, library, movie theater and independent art gallery, followed by four levels of individual rooms, and a spa and sauna facility on the rooftop enjoying views over the sea and island. 

saunders architecture: fogo island innimage courtesy of fogo island innsaunders architecture: fogo island innimage courtesy of fogo island inn

saunders architecture: fogo island innimage courtesy of fogo island inn

saunders architecture: fogo island innunder a clear night sky

saunders architecture: fogo island innin front of the northern lightssaunders architecture: fogo island innimage courtesy of saunders architecture

saunders architecture: fogo island innimage courtesy of fogo island inn

saunders architecture: fogo island inn

the white wooden envelope is painted with the various colors of the sky, ocean, and snowimage courtesy of fogo island inn

saunders architecture: fogo island innimage courtesy of fogo island inn

saunders architecture: fogo island innscaffolding over the white-painted wooden planksimage courtesy of fogo island inn

saunders architecture: fogo island innarray of solar panels on the southern elevationimage courtesy of fogo island inn

saunders architecture: fogo island inntall columns that support the overhanging volumeimage courtesy of fogo island inn

saunders architecture: fogo island innwood claddingimage courtesy of fogo island inn

saunders architecture: fogo island innmodelimage courtesy of saunders architecture

  • just couldn’t wait until it was completed to show it off, eh?

    looks promising and based on the previous work, should be stunning, but this presentation with all the scaffolding in place does not do it any favors

    dbkii says:
  • Love seeing the construction pictures.
    Thank You.

    Dan says:
  • I’m curious. How does the construction crew protect this fragile landscape when working? Are the larger materials and equipment helicoptered in? Where is the staging area?
    Do tell, please.

    mkc says:
  • Probably looks more interesting with scaffolding on.

    That said, cladding treatment of this building is very compelling. That it appears to be solid concrete under sunlight, and dissolves at dusk. DB must update with pictures of interiors and the finished building!

    idle_crane says:
  • We visited Fogo last August and visited three of the buildings. The main hotel is easily accesible from the highway that traverses Fogo Island. The staging area is in a few parking lots on either side of the main road, about 1 kilometre from the site.

    Ron J Davis says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
504,284 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
designboom magazine