SWISS CHEESE WHAT IF

ECO RESORT NEZUA NICARAGUA 2013

IN 2012 ROGER LEWITES, MY ON AND OFF AGAIN ARCHITECTURAL PARTNER AND FORMER STUDENT AT SCI-ARC IN NICARAGUA CAME TO ME ASKING TO TURN AROUND A SITUATION THAT HAD GONE NOWHERE.

TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT. IN 1999 ROGER WENT INTO PARTNERSHIP WITH A GROUP BACKED WITH SOME MONEY FROM HIS RELATIVES, DAVID MESA AND I TO BUY LARGE PARCELS OF LAND ON THE PACIFIC COAST JUST SOUTH OF MANAGUA NICARAGUA. THE MIX OF PARTNERS INVESTED IN THE GROUP SPLIT AND EVENTUALLY WAS HEADED UP BY HOMI BYRAMJI. A NEW YORK TECH. MAN WITH CONNECTIONS. ROGER THE PARTNER TAKING CARE OF THE LAND THAT REQUIRES CONSTANT MAINTENANCE, MANAGEMENT, AND PROTECTION, INITIALLY I AND ROGER DID SOME COOL DESIGNS THAT WERE NEVER TAKEN SERIOUSLY. HOMI WANTED THE STATUS QUO, SO WE WENT OUR SEPARATE WAYS.

I WAS SURPRISED WHEN ROGER MANAGED TO GET A BIT OF SEED MONEY FOR A WHAT IF STUDY IN 2012. I A SUCKER FOR DREAMING THE WHAT IF.

PROJECTS ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THE CLIENT, AND HOMI IS LIMITED, AND THINKS HE KNOWS BEST. HE DOES NOT HAVE THE EYE FOR ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTY. I KNEW THIS GOING IN, BUT ROGER AND I THOUGHT IF WE DID SOMETHING GREAT HE MIGHT GO FOR IT.

THE SITE WAS A LARGE PARCEL OF LAND THAT RAN ALONG THE OCEAN WITH GRADUAL EARTH MOUNDS THAT BUILT UP TO A SMALL LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN. WITH THE COAST LINE ROAD BEHIND ABOUT A MILE FROM THE PACIFIC OCEAN.

THE INTERESTING PART OF THE PROGRAM WAS TO CREATE A NEW VILLAGE THAT WOULD BE A HUB FOR THE REGION.

THE FIRST SCHEME GOT BONGED, PRIMARILY BECAUSE THE PROGRAM DID NOT REFLECT WHAT HOMI WANTED. THE PROGRAM WAS REVISED AND WE PROCEEDED WITH HOMI GROUP INTERACTION.

THE CONCEPT INCLUDED GIVING EVERY CABANA, HOTEL ROOM, CONDO,AND HOUSE AN OCEAN VIEW . I HAVING STOOD AT MANY A CHECK IN COUNTER, AND THE GUESTS ASKING, IS THERE AN OCEAN VIEW?

I DEVELOPED A SIMPLE CONCRETE COLUMN AND SLAB SYSTEM A SWISS CHEESE PATTERN THAT ALLOWED THE EDGES TO WIGGLE. THE INFILL WALLS BEING NON BEARING. THE LOCAL WORKMEN KNOWING HOW TO BUILD WITH CONCRETE. THE ADVANTAGE OF CONCRETE BEING COOL, STRONG AND ABLE TO LAST OVERTIME IN A HASH TROPICAL WEATHER. THE BUGS AND ROT NOT A PROBLEM. VERIFIED BY CONCRETE RUINES OF FORTS ETC. LASTING CENTURIES.

THE SLABS HAVING GREEN ROOFS OVER THE CONCRETE, THERE WAS, RECYCLED WATER AND TRASH, ROMAN CONCRETE, DRIP MISTING, PONDS, SOLAR PANELS, WIND MILLS, FANS, COURTYARDS, OCEAN BREEZES, AIR DRAFTING SYSTEMS ETC. WE WERE GOING TO PUSH THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL CONCERNS AS FAR AS WE COULD TO HAVE ZERO CARBON FOOTPRINT ETC.

A SYSTEM OF PEDESTRIAN PATHS ON THE OCEAN CLIFFS AND INTO THE INTERIOR THAT CONNECTED TO THE CONTINUOUS GREEN BELT . THE TOPO WAS USED TO BUILT ON THE HIGH POINTS TO PROVIDE VIEWS. THE GROWTH PATTERN ALLOWED FOR EXPANSION WITHOUT DISTURBING THE BUILT.

WITH THIS LOOK AND SYSTEM WE FELT THERE WOULD BE AN INSTANT WORLD MARKET STAMPEDE TO VISIT, BUY AND EXPLORE. THE ATTRACTION AUGMENTED WITH THE LOCAL TURTLE PRESERVE AND WONDERFUL BEACHES WHICH THE GROUP OWNED AS WELL.

ROGER GOT HIS BROTHER DAVID CADIA INVOLVED, A COMPUTER GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND PITCH MAN. HE CREATED THE ULTIMATE POWER POINT SHOW WITH EXAMPLES FROM THE WORLD TO SELL THE CONCEPT.

TO OUR SURPRISE HOMI WAS ECSTATIC. HE UNDERSTOOD THE THOUGHT PROCESS AND SAID THE SKETCHES WERE MASTERPIECES. HE BOUGHT THE CONCEPT. I, ROGER, AND DAVID WERE AMAZED AND DELIGHTED.

THE NEXT STEP WAS TO GET CONSULTANTS TO SUBSTANTIATE THE IDEAS AND BRING REALITY TO THE PROPOSAL, ROGER AND I SOUGHT COMPENSATION FOR THE WORK WE HAD PERFORMED AND A CONTRACT FOR US AS THE ARCHITECTS AND PLANNERS TO CONTINUE. WE WERE PREPARED TO ADJUST THE SCHEME IF THE MAIN THEME WAS RESPECTED.

THEN THE BLACK KNIGHT VILLAIN TIM , THE DEVELOPER IN THE GROUP STEPPED IN AN TORPEDOED THE WHOLE THING. HE BEWITCHED HOMI WITH DEVELOPER YAPPING AND SOLD HIM ON HIS DEVELOPER BUDDIES OUT OF DENVER . HOMI BOUGHT IN BIG TIME, AND I WAS GONE.

THE TOWN WENT FIRST AND THEN THE HOMI GROUP RESEARCH PROCLAIMED MEDITERRANEAN LOOK WAS DESIRED.

AFTER ALL WAS SAID AND DONE, NO DEVELOPMENT. THEY ARE STILL PUSHING, BUT NO TAKERS TO DATE. I AM STILL WAITING TO RECOUP MY INVESTMENT. IT IS TIME TO RECONSIDER THE SWISS CHEESE WHAT IF PITCH.

HOMI AND I ARE ON GOOD TERMS, HE AND WIFE LIKE TO DANCE AND PARTY AT MY WIFE’S HOUSE, BUT IT IS SAD THAT HE HAD THE CHANCE AND BLEW IT. IT TAKES A LOT OF GUTS TO ACQUIRE, KEEP LAND, GET AN ENVIRONMENTAL PERMIT AND FUNCTION IN NICARAGUA . ALL OF WHICH HOMI HAS DONE, BUT HE COULD NOT GRASP THE MARKET VALUE IN BEING UNIQUE, SENSUOUS, TROPICAL , DIFFERENT, AND SIGNIFICANT . A COMMON FLAW OF DEVELOPERS. ROGER IS STILL PROPOSING AND FRUSTRATED.

GLEN

JUST YOUR AVERAGE VIEW OF PARADISE FROM THE MIRADOR RESTAURANT

SITE PLAN, HOTEL LOWER LEFT, TOWN RIGHT OF AND CONDO VIEWING MOUNTAIN ON UPPER LEFT, RESIDENTIAL WIGGLES AROUND THE REST OF THE SITE WITH A CONTINUOUS GREEN BELT SURROUNDING ALL FUNCTIONS. THE TERRAIN PROVIDING OCEAN VIEWS FROM EVERY UNIT.

SKETCH OF STRUCTURAL SYSTEM, CHOSEN BECAUSE LOCAL WORKMEN FAMILIAR WITH POURED IN PLACE CONCRETE. THERE WAS LOCAL CONCRETE FOR AN ECONOMICAL SOLUTIONS WITH A LOT OF SENSUALITY . ROMAN CONCRETE, AN OPTION WE WERE CONSIDERING.

MIRADOR RESTAURANT, SHOPS, CONDOS, AND ESTATES

MIRADOR RESTAURANT

HOTEL, WITH CABANAS ON LEFT, NOTICE THE SERVICE IN REAR WITH COURTYARD BACK OF THE HOUSE FUNCTIONS. SEA WATER DRIPPING OVER THE EDGE OF ROOF TO ALLOW OCEAN BREEZES TO COOL.

THE TOWN LAID OUT WITH STRAIGHT STREETS, THE LOOK COMING FROM THE WIGGLE EDGE OF CONC. SLAB.

THE WIGGLY LOOK WITH STRAIGHT NARROW STREETS AND OVERHANGS PATIO WITH MISTING FROM ABOVE

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2 comments

  1. hi Glen, isnt the MEDITERRANEAN LOOK supposed to be for drier climates? If I remember didnt some developer want a MEDITERRANEAN LOOK for the Abu Dabhi project as well. Or is it that Tampico Tillies is pseudo-spanish and this non-thinking no imagination creton can think of anything else? lowest and most common denomenator.

    This is whats called an eco-resort. not a cheap imiataion of a mexican resturant,

    never the less the planning is great, the climate derived functional units respond to the actual environment, and the green roofing inspired. mini private parks in a sense

    i wish i could see more along that line. like ocean breeze scoops or wind catchers. hot and humid does need breezeways. didnt see any rook access here and the rooftops do not show anything along the line of people use. im sure this was an oversight or under design. too much of a good thing gives morons the headaches they deserve.

    happy birthday (late)

    • thanks eric for the comment, i was beginning to think you were in Facebook la la land forever.

      as you are aware i seek universal beauty through design, but lately realizing even curvy stuff in architecture, that people see in nature, is classified as modern. a huge no no to a lot of people.

      the roof was a garden for: plants, people, and creatures. not privately controlled. water spilled down the edges to provide a misting cooling system for the courtyards and streets.

      the houses and condos looked out at the view and down on the roofs of the hotel, town and other houses. so the roofs being green was not the blaring uglyness that urban environments have. many a time a proud owner of an urban flat saying to me, isn’t the view great? i renching with disgust of having to look at roof top junk and other monster development surrounding me.

      the idea in nicaragua is to stay in the shade and seek sun only for brief periods.
      night is the pleasant time.

      no need for wind scoops the ocean breeze direct. the courtyards being the updraft system.

      come visit me in nicaragua, you would love it.

      glen

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