Nature (and its preservation) evidently played a major role in the unusual design of the Friend House, an innovative ecohotel situated on the banks of the Ukraine's Orel River, a tributary of the Dnieper. Actually in development for a number of years, the single story structure sits on 7.4 acres (3 hectares) of forested land about 19 miles (30 km) from the large city of Dnipropetrovs'k. Constructed exclusively of what its designers call "ecologically harmless" materials - clay, reed, wood and stone - this eye-catching edifice is also a contender for the World Architecture News (WAN) Awards 2012 Hotel of the Year.

In the early stages of the project's development, the architectural team at Ryntovt Design conducted an ecological survey of the surrounding countryside in an effort to learn more about the interplay of the building site's natural resources. A good amount of that information also went into the hotel's furniture and lighting, which the architects designed as well and likely accounts for the eye-pleasing blend of form and function the Friend House seems to possess.

Had nature been given full control of the design, however, the bulbous, cocoon-like rooms might have been scattered randomly about the site. Instead, the decision was made to unite them under a single extended linear roof. The resulting open space actually serves to enhance enjoyment of the adjacent surroundings and fosters communication between guests - proof that occasionally, nature can actually be improved upon.

Source: Ryntovt Design via WAN