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Nothing beats experience in resort planning and that experience can only be gained by (you guessed it) "resort planning"... so someone like Lewis T. May, FASLA< whose resort designs have received numerous awards from ASLA and a number of other organizations, not only enjoys his work, but is constantly in demand for contemporary resort development. And he sees first-hand the changes which continue to come about in resort design. "A resort as a destination to be successful must be a careful blending of recreational character and unique qualities that can captivate the spirit of the place," he said in a recent interview. In discussing the emerging trends in resort development, he opined What was once the private beach and blue water destination is changing into a vibrant, alive place- where recreation and health are replacing the former focus on dining and sedentary activities, and where environmental sustainability is a key tenet in designing all the elements. He also noted that "urban resorts"--week-end destinations close to or within a major city--are becoming more popular. A good example is the fabulous Rio de Janeiro Resort in Brazil. The design featured advanced security measures to counter international terrorism, to satisfy its developers who desired a "total destination resort and international conference center." With a location between the Copa Cabana and Iponeama beaches in Rio, the mixed-use leisure and resort complex, for which May did the master plan, has a number or interesting facets which had to be taken into design consideration. Formerly a military installation on a rock jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, this formidable location was a perfect site to be transformed into a resort that was both architecturally significant and, in a security sense, totally protected. The total-destination resort will eventually include a 2,000-room hotel within three, wing-shaped towers--featuring a communication spire in the center that will act as a symbol of the complex. Site plans also call for a military museum, as well as an active military garrison. A cruise ship and yacht basin which: includes berths for twelve ships posed an added design challenge. To assure the security of the site, May designed and elaborate electronic gateway system which faces the secured private beach, and planned a shopping zone as part of a recreated Brazilian village on the mainland. Housing facilities for resort workers and residential condominiums along the beach have been sited for private investment. In addition to his design services. May helped author the cash flow and development strategies which were presented to World Bank, the entity whose development plan will finance the entire multi-million square foot complex. On the other side of the world. May designed the Jeddah Corniche Resort/Recreation Master Plan for the King of Saudi Arabia, His Royal Highness King Fahad Bin Adul Aziz. Implementation of the phased plan has begun and some facets have been completed. Many of Saudi Arabia's culturally distinct aspects have been captured in the landscape design, which merited an ASLA Honor Award. May created a nocturnal garden of fragrances and events using historic Islamic patterns and forms; he also used locally significant patterns and textures, which seemingly pleased the Saudi royal family. The plans called for two, key thematic spaces. One constitutes a nighttime exhibit pavilion planned as a major open space, to be shaped by additional light pavilions and illuminated tensile tents or canopies and completed with a garden filled with night-blooming, fragrant plants; this space was oriented toward the King's Fountain and is slated to be the major gathering place for the entire resort. The other space- the King's Tea Room and Aquarium- is at the terminus of the development's axis. May designed the tea room as an aquatic destination, as well as a garden and pavilion. Large, wall-sized saltwater tanks open to the sea exhibit. "The rich aqua culture of the Red Sea provides a great backdrop to what has come to be known as the Royal Retreat," May noted. He graciously added, "working with the Royal household in Jeddah was a delight, and implementation of the project, which we started several years ago, is continuing." In Egypt, Lewis May was confronted with one of the most famous historic sites in the world... the Pyramids! The five-star resort and conference he was asked to plan was situated in close proximity to the Great Pyramid, and the views were of major significance in the design; he even had to design the night amenity lighting so it would not conflict with the illumination of the pyramids. Although the project is not yet a reality, the plans have taken in to consideration the historic site and have enhanced the views of the pyramids. To answer the question of water. May proposed an irrigation system that utilizes recycled waste water and secondarily treated effluent to minimize the need for potable water. May continues to design a number of other resorts all over the world. When asked the question, "What constitutes a great resort?" Lewis T. May, FASLA responds..."a place to escape... a place to get away from the stress of life." His designs certainly deliver... an elegant retreat to each of his clients! LASN THE STUDIO OF LEWIS T. MAY AT PAGE SOUTHERLAND PAGE IS ABUZZ WITH ACTIVITY. PICTURED(ABOVE) IS AN "URBAN RESORT," THE STAR CENTER SPACE CONVERGENCE COMPLEX AT NASA, HOUSTON, TEXAS. THE STUDIO IS CURRENTLY PLANNING AND DESIGNING A MAJOR URBAN MARITIME AND ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER IN HOUSTON (SEE SIDEBAR, OPPOSITE). AS A MAJOR TOURIST DESTINATION IT WILL INCORPORATE A LEARNING CENTER AND AQUARIUM. A NIGHTTIME EXHIBIT PAVILION IS PLANNED AS A MAJOR OPEN SPACE AT THE JEDDAH CORNICHE RESORT IN JEDDAH, A KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA. SHAPED BY ILLUMINATED CANOPIES, THIS AWARD-WINNING NOCTURNAL GARDEN IS FILLED WITH SWEET FRAGRANCES, PATTERNS AND TECTURES THAT PLEASED THE SAUDI ROYAL FAMILY. DESIGNED AS AN AQUATIC DESTINATION, GARDEN AND MEETING PAVILION, THE KING'S TEA ROOM AND AQUARIUM OPENS OUT TO THE RICH RED SEA OF SAUDI ARABIA. All illustrations provided courtesy of Page Southerland Page.

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December 8, 2019, 7:42 am PDT

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