Title: cimmerian, the dark sky hotel
Client: john hardy group (7th annual radical innovation in hospitality competition)
Project Type: architecture
"A bright starlit sky creates in us a sense of awe and wonder at the scale of the universe. Any further encroachment of this precious environment diminishes the nature of what it is to be human." —Joan Bakewell
For millenia, cultures across the world have venerated the opportunity to stare at the darkness of the heavens and the brilliance of the night sky—to observe in wonderment the cosmos that comes to life between dusk and dawn. Yet, in the last few decades, with increasingly technology and the necessity inherent in light, cities have become too lit, too bright, and unfortunatelyhave progressively dimmed the stars visible to us at night. We can no longer stare at the night sky as family pastime or a midnight camping trip activity. And even if some stars are visible (such as the ever glowing Sirius, Vega or Polaris), the beauty of the Milky Way is allusive even to those who live far from the skyglow of large cities. As if changing the urban fabric of our cities where not enough, with the dawn of the Technology Age has come the Digital Age. Long ago, the quiet serenity of solemn spaces was often considered a sacred time and space when the body, the mind and the spirit found respite from the hectic routines of a busy life. Now, in today's modern world few are the places in which people are not plugged in, connected, or streaming media from the internet. From the comfort of one's bed once can email, call, text or video chat with all one's contacts from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Tumblr and Skype—either at different times, or multi-tasking in different browser tabs. The apogee of the Digital Age has allowed people from all ages to access most of the known world at the push of a button on devices hardly larger than a wallet or a book. Fewer and fewer people are getting the opportunity to truly disconnect and engage in quiet meditation, tranquil reading or peaceful sleep. In a new paradigm of hospitality, Cimmerian aims to change all this.
Taking its name from the mythological Greek people who lived in a land of darkness at the edge of the world, Cimmerian is an innovative hotel that has as its main focus the preservation of the sanctity of the night sky and relaxation far from the pressing anxieties of modern life and the light pollution of large cosmopolitan mega-cities—thus, allowing guests, amidst a tranquil serenity, to be immersed and experience the dark beauty of the heavens and the brilliance of the stars. Here, secluded environments are truly immersive—both during the day and night. Discouraging of all forms of technology, Cimmerian is a contemporary approach to monastic living. While at Cimmerian, guests can enjoy quiet underground saunas and pools, walks in the surrounding landscape, breathtaking views of the cosmos and the night sky, and complete disconnection from a busy world—as all technological devices are retrieved from guests and are kept locked from check-in to check-out.
Collaboration with michael raspuzzi
Design Team: Alberto de Salvatierra, michael raspuzzi