Location: Maldives, Lhaviyani Atoll
Area: 30,000 m2
Photographs: Diego De Pol
The Maldives has the lowest average ground level of any nation, which makes for some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. It also makes Maldivians extremely sensitive to the effects of rising sea levels. The burden of global CO2 reduction lies primarily with a few large economies, but achieving carbon neutrality on this small island should be an inspiration for sustainable development in larger countries.
Our design mission was to satisfy our client’s intent and purpose – to create an island that combines luxury and sustainable elements. We believe that the luxury comes from the ample space that is private, and open to the nature at the same time. We have placed all guest accommodations and facilities on the sea, leaving the island relatively empty. Each guest has a 300 sq.m. private room with a sweeping ocean view, and a quiet island that is left empty for them.
In order to blend in the sustainable elements into this setting, we have installed 984 solar panels spanning 1,643 square meters over the main building.It is productive, informative, and even seductive. This roof became the main design feature of the island. The roof has 3º slope, which is optimal for solar absorption and shedding the tropical rainfall. The system generates 320KWp of power, 575MWh annually, which is capable of running the entire island without fossil fuel all time.
In designing the guest rooms, the breeze, shade and unobstructed view became the driving elements for the guest accommodation. Every villa has operable full height windows strategically placed in opposite walls, advocating natural air ventilation to air conditioning. With overhang roofs, umbrellas and canopies, more than 50% of private outdoor deck of all water villas were designed to have at least 5 hours of shaded hours during the day.
100% of potable water comes from the sea water through our desalination plant. Drinking water on the resort are bottled on the island with reusable glass bottles. Onsite sewage facility purifies the waste water to reduce sludge production from the island. The treated water is re-distributed to the irrigation system or reused in toilet flushing to reduce overall water consumption.
In order to protect the existing ecosystem, landscape plant materials are kept native. Coconut Palm (Dhivehi Ruh), Sea Lettuce (Magoo), Iron Wood (Kuredhi), Beach Hibiscus (Dhigga), Screwpine (Boa Kashikeya) are among the dominant plants. Often, we see beautiful manicured landscape with exotic plant in Maldivian resorts, but we believe that the introduction of imported plants may result in unpredicted negative results within a holistic ecosystem in the country.
We have commissioned Indonesian furniture producer Warisan to make all furniture including built-ins. Warisan takes part in FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade). In this way, all timber materials in this project are free from illegal logging that causes deforestation around the world.
We have looked at this project, not from pampered luxurious viewpoint, but rather from the unique experience that only the Maldives can offer. The sea, breeze, view, and the marine life. We have spent days and nights on the island in the pre-construction phase, and studied the characters of the place, the natural elements that are worth enhancing for the future hospitality enterprise. We have achieved to create not only a place where the guests can notice those unique Maldivian characters, but alsoexperience to live solely onrenewable energy for a few weeks in a remote island. It is not perfect but it is a symbolic first step toward new way of building a resort responsively.