Nautilus Resort in Palawan Is the Ecotourism Complex of the Future

October 18, 2021



Micah Mongcal

How do you make tourism compatible with local communities and the natural environment? Vincent Callebaut envisions a solution in the Nautilus Eco-resort, a design proposal to be located in Palawan. The biomimetic complex is capable of responding to the challenges of sustainable development, using a “zero emissions, zero waste, and zero poverty” structure.

The need for ethical tourism

With pandemic restrictions easing, the tourism industry is anticipating increased growth and an influx of travelers. Many of us are eager to fulfill long-awaited vacation plans and enjoy our downtime with family and friends in newly discovered, far-flung locales. While we’re making our plans, we need to consider if our selected tourist destination is ethical and eco-friendly. Local populations and the natural environment are often displaced during the construction of resorts and similar structures. As we travel to appreciate the natural beauty of landscapes, we need to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the same experience.

Biophilic architecture: for nature, by nature

With this objective in mind, Vincent Callebaut drew on the elements of nature found in the Philippine Sea to design Nautilus Resort. Viewed from the sky, the overall structure of the resort complex is a fractal shape that is rolled into itself according to the precise and timeless geometry of the nautilus shell. The buildings placed within this spiral are also designed to mimic the structure of shells, which decrease in size as you get closer to the center.

The Nautilus Resort’s biophilic design will be executed from bio-sourced materials, including agricultural products such as hemp wool, microalgae from the sea, and tropical wood from responsibly managed forests. The architectural process will harmonize with the needs of the surrounding landscape.

Nautilus Resort
The shell-shaped theme is echoed throughout the resort’s structures, including the interiors.
Nautilus Resort

Principles of Biophilic Design in the Nautilus Resort:

• Create visual harmony with the natural landscape

• Efficient airflow and temperature control

• Passive daylighting strategies

• Design biomorphic structures

• Use eco-friendly materials

“Ecotourism explores avenues for reconciling the socio-economic development of our societies and the protection of the environment.”

Vincent Callebaut

Although Nautilus Resort has yet to become a reality, its ambitious design can serve as an inspiration for tourist destinations of the future: resorts that are not limited to providing a fleeting experience of relaxation and entertainment, but use the income from tourism to the Philippines’ incredible biodiversity and care for the well-being of local communities.

Nautilus Resort
Nautilus Resort
Nautilus Resort
Photo credits: Vincent Callebaut

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