Little Shelter Hotel

Category B-2 Honorable Mention

Category B-2: Public Amenity Resort Buildings    
Honorable Mention

Award credit: Department of Architecture Co., Ltd
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Photography: W Workspace

Little Shelter boutique hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand, samples the region’s vernacular architecture, which are characterized by wood structures with shingled roofs. The hotel’s roof form, inspired by traditional hip roofs, pays homage to the local architecture of the surrounding old cityscape, with an added reinterpretation in an asymmetrical form that blends naturally with the surrounding treetop silhouettes. 
The west side of the roof is partially carved out to create a roof deck that opens to the panoramic river view. Wood shingles cloak the roof and side façades, and on the river-facing side, polycarbonate sheets cut in the same size as the wood shingles create a striking translucent architectural façade. The entrance façade is marked by solid wood shingles at the top that trickle down into polycarbonate shingles on the lower part, creating a truly eye-catching image. 

Even though the exterior design is based on a traditional shingle system, it was possible to achieve an uninterrupted translucent surface through special detail design using translucent studs and special transparent screws. In exploring such unusual design details, the hotel promotes the possibility of fusing new materials with traditional systems to create contemporary architectural finishes that can still be deeply rooted in tradition. 

The interior complements the chic exterior with a gallery-like ambiance that appropriately stages installations inspired by the famous Bo Sang umbrellas of Chiang Mai to create delicate, dramatic silhouettes that express contemporary interpretations of the well-known local handicraft. 

The ceiling in each guestroom is adorned with images of iconic venues and landmarks in Chiang Mai. These images are infinitely reflected onto long walls clad with small mirror shingles, creating a surreal borderless sensation. Little Shelter represents an aim to create a contemporary “craft architecture” that embodies Northern Thailand’s craft culture. It is not only a place at which to rest your head, but also a representation of the past, the present, and probably the future of Chiang Mai to all guests who visit.