The Eco-Tourist Centre is a new pilot concept for Niue and the Pacific Islands, which actively promotes Sustainable Design Principles to minimise the impact of the development on the Island and to inspire future developments of a similar nature. The Hotel and Chalets provide additional accommodation for Tourists visiting the Island. The Hotel consists of a Porte Cochere, Public and Private Lounges, Indoor and Outdoor Bars and Dining areas, Fireplace and Barbecue area, Recreational Pool with Infinity Edge and Spa Pool. The Chalets consist of a Covered Deck, Double Bedroom, Bathroom, Open Plan Living, Dining and Kitchen. Local labour and expertise will be employed to construct the development. The Niuen Premier is supportive of the project and it was discussed at the Pacific Leaders Forum in 2008. Fundraising is in progress and due for construction in 2010.
The Design consists of low, cliff hugging, cantilevered forms with verandahs and connecting covered walkways. Design Engine's 10 Point Sustainable Design Principles are evident in the use of large eave overhangs for solar protection, natural cross-ventilation utilising prevailing winds, evaporative cooling over water pools as natural air-conditioning, the collection of rainwater in the eaves to be utilised in toilets, showers and gardens and other unique innovative design ideas that are a trade secret for this flagship project. The materials used have an emphasis on local indigenous raw materials, the use of local coral, rock and timber in the concrete and architecture make use of a rich local context. This project will be a leading light example for future developments, blazing a new trail for Eco-Tourism developments and Architecture in the Pacific Islands. Design Engine Architects are currently involved with projects in Fiji and Samoa employing similar principles. Mark Wassung aims to be a Pacific Registered Architect once building up a portfolio of 5 years of work. Many of Mark's experiences of traditional Zula "Beehive Hut" structures in South Africa have parallels with the Pacific "Fale" Structures, exposed Post and Beam construction, curved battens, thatched roofs and woven mats.
The project is at the Design stage and due for construction in 2010.