Jendretzki Design wants to transform Rat Island into an off-grid eco hotel

Posted On Fri, April 5, 2019 By

Posted On Fri, April 5, 2019 By In Architecture, Green Design

Eight years ago, then 71-year-old Alex Schibli bought an entire NYC island for $160,000. If you’ve never heard of Rat Island, it’s a 2.5-acre land mass off the coast of City Island in the Bronx, where Schibli and his wife live. Originally, he said he had no plans to alter it, but a few months ago, he received a phone call from architect Pablo Jendretzki. “I read an article on him and the island a few months ago and called him to offer to design a project. We met the next morning,” Jendretzki told 6sqft. Schibli had expressed a desire to build a self-sustaining hotel that takes advantage of the island’s natural surroundings. In response, Jendretzki designed this series of off-grid eco pods that would function as a sort of glamping experience.

Rat IslandCurrent view of Rat Island, via Wiki Commons

Rat Island is composed almost entirely of Manhattan schist bedrock with a small inlet that boats can pass through. Therefore, Jendretzki designed the concept with two nonnegotiable rules. First, they’ll need to be constructed off-site and “‘installed’ on the island’s rocky terrain.” He explains, “they need to work on a rock, on a plain, or a combination. Ergo the trick is in the support/anchoring system.” Secondly, they must be completely sustainable and self-sufficient, as no utilities will be brought onto the island. “We are studying the latest technologies for solar and wind power, rainwater collection and purification, as well as contained treatment systems for affluents.”

Jendretzki Architects, Pablo Jendretzki, Rat Island

Jendretzki Architects, Pablo Jendretzki, Rat Island

Pablo was modest about his design, but did tell us that “the idea that one could retire for a weekend or a month to a private cabin on a small island just 30 minutes away from Central Park, makes it unique.”

Jendretzki Architects, Pablo Jendretzki, Rat Island

He also said he could see this type of concept taking off elsewhere. “I can see how the need to jump off the grid for a bit is gaining followers everywhere, and adding the good feeling of doing it spending zero energy…. the demand will generate the supply. I’m sure every busy city has at least a few jewels like Rat Island hiding in plain sight.”

The planning is in the early stages, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out. For now, you can take a virtual tour in this video from Jendretzki:


All renderings courtesy of Jendretzki Design

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