The Little Shelter Hotel by bangkok-based firm Department of ARCHITECTURE Co. incorporates a façade of wood and polycarbonate shingles, laid out like fish scales to become a watertight architectural plane. Located in the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand, the hotel pays homage to local architecture, with its wooden façade and pitched roof, which is partially carved out on the west side to become a roof deck for guests to enjoy the panoramic river view at sunset.
By merging the wood shingles with translucent polycarbonate sheets of the same size, Department of ARCHITECTURE Co. has explored the possibility of fusing new materials into an existing system, to create a contemporary architectural surface that is yet deeply rooted in tradition. The merge is particularly evident on the hotel’s entrance façade, where the upper portion is composed of solid wood shingles, which trickle down to mix with polycarbonate shingles on the lower part. ‘Although working with the traditional shingle system, the uninterrupted translucency surface is achieved by a special detail design using translucent studs and special transparent screws,’ the studio explains. ‘The façade is glittering in the sun as the light touches different material grains, from the solid wood shingles to the different translucency levels of the polycarbonate shingles.’
During daytime, natural light passes through the façade, creating a varying interior atmosphere at different times, while at night, the lights of the interior transform the building into a lantern glowing on the riverbank. Inside, the public areas of The Little Shelter hotel complement the exterior simplicity, giving it a gallery-like feeling that accommodates the site-specific installations inspired by the famous boh–srang umbrella, and creating delicate and dramatic silhouettes that express a contemporary interpretation of the local handicraft.
Guest rooms are created as places to rediscover Chiang Mai through a new angle, as images of important places and events of the city, such as its ancient wall, the floating lantern festival, the pine forest, the pah-chor canyon, and more, are placed on the rooms’ entire ceiling. The images, which are different for each of the 14 guest rooms, are infinitely reflected onto the long walls clad with small mirror shingles, giving a surreal borderless sensation. Each image emanates different and unique feeling: tranquil, playful, cultured, mysterious, etc., suitable for any preferences of the guests.