Photos: IMOCOM via Perfil.
The Portuguese group IMOCOM presented its latest project in Argentina, a Hilton branded hotel in Bariloche (Patagonia) that was introduced as "eco friendly". According to the company's CEO, Hugo Canessa, the broad term refers to the hotel layout, which will blend with the mountain it's located in to reduce visual impact, and the fact that during the building process and later in its operational phase, the hotel will have efficient use of energy and water and "proper management of soil and drainage."
Besides the green talk, neighbors are concerned about the impact the building will have in this beautiful area. The fact that the hotel is placed in a mountain, is going to get water from the pristine Nahuel Huapi lake, and is surely disposing water nearby, are causes for worry.
Green or greenwashing? Keep reading for more info and pictures.Background: why a Hilton in Bariloche
Bariloche is a city in the province of Rio Negro and one of the most important destinations of the Argentinean Patagonia. If this project gets the final approval from municipal authorities, the Hilton will be the first international hotel chain to have a base in this city.
The project is thought to be vital for the development of tourism in the area, which is why municipal and national authorities have given it thumbs up. The hotel will demand a 120 million USD investment and is expected to be open in 2011, adding 350 rooms and 240 houses with hotel service, three restaurants, two pools, a spa and a convention center for 2,000 people to the city.
Towns and cities in the south of Argentina have higher environmental awareness than Buenos Aires, and that is why the project for the hotel had to consider green actions and was presented as "eco friendly."
How green the third Argentinean Hilton will be?
The eye-shaped building was designed by well known Argentinean architect Mario Roberto Alvarez, also father of the Buenos Aires Hilton, and will cover 60,000 square meters of the 50 hectares the IMOCOM group owns in the Dos Hermanos hills (25 kilometers from the center of Bariloche).
The investors behind the hotel project say it will have the following green features:
-A green roof that will integrate it to the mountain colors thorough seasons,
-Efficient use of water and energy,
-The largest private plant of liquid waste water treatment in the area (according to Infobae),
-The hotel will occupy 60,000 square meters of the 51 hectares area, leaving the rest of the space with the natural wildlife,
-The building will be located in an area of semi-volcanic rock and no native species will be cut down, the trees that will have to be cleared are mostly pines (as said by Imocom CEO to ANBariloche).
But of course, the sole fact of a building getting into the landscape of a mountain has been subject to discussion and rejection from the city's neighbors.
Locals oppose to project
According to Muy Patagonia, opposers are worried about the future impact of the building and some of the actions behind the project.
The neighbors claim the building will spoil their landscape and surroundings, and say the hotel will have an electricity line that will be financed by investors but that afterwards they won't pay their consume until that investment is paid out, which makes the line paid by neighbors.
As said earlier, we would be more worried about the hotel getting water from the Nahuel Huapi lake and would watch for the waste water treatment and disposal. We know Argentina has seen too many water courses spoiled by negligence.
So far, the hotel was presented with an environmental impact study to the municipal Planning Secretariat and awaits final approval. If it does, we certainly hope the "eco friendly" presentation is not just green blah.