From afar, it's hard to tell what El Blok, the reinforced concrete marvel of a Tropical Modernist hotel, really is. Could it be a very sexy car park? Or perhaps it's an office building for a corporation run by mermaids or ancient sea gods? One must give it to the firm Fuster + Architects, who, with the intriguing coral-inspired façade it slapped on this curvilinear building in Vieques, Puerto Rico, turned the 22-room boutique hotel into something of an enigmatic modernist seasponge. Inside there are all these radical Gold Leed-certified design flourishes like prefab chimneys that bring light into the building, a roof terrace that collects rainwater, and a bioluminescent Jacuzzi.
Even the New York Times is totally sold, calling it "one of the most architecturally significant hotels in the Caribbean."
Inside, the exposed concrete rooms are decorated in a spare style with bursts of color (like bright hydraulic tiles) and there's a lot of native wood on display, like a long bar made from an entire almond tree. All the rooms have balconies, and all of those balconies have concrete beach balls on them. "We wanted to celebrate Puerto Rico's postwar modernist architecture and simultaneously fit into the curved corner property," co-owner Simon Baeyertz told the Times. More photos, below.
· Fuster + Architects [Official site]
· El Blok Hotel by Fuster + Architects features dynamic concrete façades [Designboom]
· A Vieques Hotel With Contemporary Design–and Cuisine [New York Times]
· All Globe Trotting posts [Curbed National]
· All Hotels posts [Curbed National]