Tropical Experience: Architecture + Design


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Tropical Experience introduces a series of design stories with provocative story lines around some of Mark de Reus & de Reus Architects’ most prominent projects in locations as exotic and far-flung as Hawai’i, Mexico, Belize, and China. Each of the stories reveals the search that is inherent in the architectural design effort to evoke the spirit of each place by noting the unique circumstances for each client and property.

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Tropical Experience: Architecture + Design

  1. 1. kukio golf club Two heroic stone reproductions of a Hawaiian wood artifact flank the entry as a presence of the Hawaiian culture.148 149
  2. 2. kukio golf club136 137
  3. 3. KuKio bEach club The third facility, which houses the spa pavilions and pools, appears similar on the exterior—but evinces a soft, serene tone on the interior. aside from the complete panoply of fitness equipment, the cardio pavilion also boasts a wraparound deck. The yoga and spin pavilion, as well as the lap pool, are ensconced within a lush landscape. The open-air locker rooms are appointed with bamboo privacy gardens, while the spa treatment rooms were designed with a circular shape to promote the flow of chi (energy). The massing and exterior design, purposely simple, use few materialsAbove site walls at the entrance to the Kuki’o beach club open to and details to convey the island’s character; after all, living in the tropics ispreserve an ancient hawaiian trail that runs through the site. more about finding shelter from the sun and occasional rain, and enjoying the beautiful setting. Thatched roofs contribute to the shade, while lava stone walls create the direct connection to the volcanic land; coral- hued plaster walls convey a sense of cool solace, and sensuous tropical hardwoods summon the regional elements. The art program for kuki’o is an important component for this facility and is conceived of as an unthemed private collection with art and artifacts that aid in mythologizing the grounds and spaces, and permeating the club with a sense of history and island culture. The collection includes the likes of significant contemporary hawaiian artists such as Yvonne cheng, Barbara Yukoi, and Tom pico, among others.196 197
  4. 4. K U K I O B E ACH CLUB216 217
  5. 5. Nandana222 223
  6. 6. Nandana234 235
  7. 7. P u n tA s Ay u l I tAsayulita, MexicoThiS 33-acre peninSula alongside the seaside village of Sayulita,mexico is rare. attuned to the value of appropriate design and planning,this regionally focused developer is driven to nurture the project invarious ways. it will be not only the place where the two partners andtheir families will live, but the project also contains a triple bottomline business objective wherein ultimate success is achieved withconsideration paid to economic, ecological, and community factors.The developer was attracted to our firm’s design reputation for hand-crafting resort projects. it was agreed that a best practices sustainableapproach would be incorporated into the planning and design effort. Weconcluded that 62 private residences and a 1,000-square-meter club-house were the carrying capacity of the property.  The hillside homesblend with the environment maintaining mountain forms and preservingnatural drainage. roadways are sized for carts, and low retaining walls oflocal stone masonry terrace the hillsides for minimum environmental dis-turbance. xeriscape with native plantings will aid in water conservation.There is a strong refuge and prospect aspect to the intimate and shadyvalley, where the club’s individual palapa pavilions nestle under canopiesof oil palms and gumbo-limbo trees, with views of the bay and SayulitaVillage. during the daytime, sun-dappled shade trees offer canopiesagainst the sky; at night, the stars, lights, and faint sounds of Sayulitacreate another distinct experience. large granite boulders eroded byshoreline waves add ruggedness and privacy to the setting.Three single-family residential prototypes were designed to fit into thehillsides and find commonality with the regional vernacular. The clubamenity itself is designed as a tropical village of thatched pavilionsfor the social functions: the arrival (concierge) palapa; bar and diningpalapas; outdoor pursuits; fitness and library palapa; the spa with lockerand treatment palapas; and the sunset bar palapa on the pacific side ofthe peninsula. The individual palapas were carefully sited to attain theauthenticity of a hillside village.To the fullest extent possible, all local materials and craftsmen will beused. as opposed to a formulaic trendy resort, the entire program isone that recognizes the importance of an appropriate handcrafted andsustainable development within the host community.328 329
  8. 8. p u N Ta s ay u l i Ta creating a retreat, a place to get away to find solace and harmony in this special piece of coastline, means enabling all design aspects to contribute to a sense of sanctuary, a respect of nature and the context. it also means testing ourselves at every decision- making junction to determine what the experience wants to be.330 331