Landscape & Hospitality Design


Reflections on the relationship between Landscape and the profession of hospitality architecture

By the following two designers:

SPEAKER(1): Ryan Doone – Associate Designer at HKS

Ryan is a California native and has been with HKS Hill-Glazier Studio since he returned home to Palo Alto in 2011. Prior to that, he earned professional design degrees from Harvard and MIT. His primary focus is on conceptual and schematic design for new and current hospitality projects with an emphasis on beach resorts, and his interest in the intersection between landscape and architecture make for elevated client satisfaction and guest experiences.

SPEAKER(2): Ryan O’Rourke –Designer at HKS

Ryan is a California native and has been with the HKS Hospitality Group since he moved across the bay to San Francisco in 2014. Prior to that, he earned a design degree in architecture from Cal. His primary focus is to assist in the full service delivery of a construction set. He also leads a team of individuals in the creation + implementation of programs with the goal to promote cultural diversity + inclusion throughout the studio. These programs are critical to the development of an effective + efficient workforce.

7 thoughts on “Landscape & Hospitality Design

  1. I enjoyed hearing about the Four Seasons Resort Manele Bay project. This is a new business model I was not aware of; the architect firm as the subcontractor for the landscape design firm. It was nice they had control over the user experience as well (opening up the room to the landscape before the visitors came to their unit). I was not aware that the designer had the influence to address how the space is used once they had finished designing it.

    The importance of sight lines in hospitality design was talked a lot about. It seems that to HKS, views are the most important to landscape design in their hospitality projects. I wonder what the landscape design students think of this.

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  2. I thought HKS had an interesting design approach, which was driven by the need to let people be within the natural environment and perhaps, escape the concrete jungle. Thus, HKS chose to highlight natural features of existing environments rather than try to create completely new experiences or rebuild “nature.” Their Four Seasons Resort design resonated with me in the sense that it allowed people to submerse themselves into a natural environment. It wasn’t forced. Guests were simply put in a situation where they can be discover the beauty of the natural environment. It created an oasis that implemented the indoor/outdoor strategy to offer guests unobstructed views of the horizon, which can create powerful and healing moment. The unobstructed view of the horizon carried so much weight in their designs that all units were given equal access. I hadn’t given much thought to hospitality design before but this presentation definitely shed some light on the subject.

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  3. This presentation set itself apart because it showed ground up design where often their site is a natural or built ‘blank’ slate on which they have the opportunity to create something that reflects the setting and context. To see concept and implementation through the lens of HKS was interesting because though they are an architecture firm, many of their projects were similar to those presented to us by previous landscape architecture firms.

    The different studies on rest and rehabilitation and how being exposed to the natural environment can be healing resonated the idea of biophilia. This was heightened by the concept of the para-sympathetically dominant response, an innate draw to the expanse of the horizon. There are unique aspects in our world that the human mind seeks out to find respite, and these are the opportunities that need to be captured and embodied in our designs to evoke the same responses. HKS sought to do this in different ways. In the desert they build a hotel that respected the horizon of native geology. In Hawaii they terraced the hillside to create vistas for every room so that patrons could look out to the unobstructed ocean horizon.

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  4. Oftentimes in Landscape Architecture classes or lectures, the idea of the inferiority of the landscape architect surfaces. Although it seems like we simultaneously discuss how this dynamic is changing, which is certainly something I believe (and is part of why I’m in school for landscape architecture). Thus, it was quite reassuring to hear from both Ryans how—especially in certain hospitality projects—how the landscape becomes a central, guiding emphasis of the overall site design. In particular, I thought the comment that “if we did our jobs right… architecture becomes a thin veil between the outside spaces,” in reference to the project in Hawaii.

    In addition, I really enjoyed some of the more philosophical statements Ryan Doone added to his presentation. Specifically, there was the comment on Norberg-Schultz’s approach of architecture becoming a foothold to understand where you are in the world. Or, the ability of the horizon to simplify and allow you to understand your relationship to the larger world. It’s an important reminder to imbue your professional work with an inspired sense of its larger meaning.

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  5. Adding on to Alison’s comment above, it is really interesting to see landscape architecture being talked about from the architecture designer’s point of view. When working on the projects, Ryan mentioned that they worked really close with the landscape architects, which I believe is the key to establish a harmonious relationship between architecture and the landscape. When the landscape has very significant qualities, the architecture becomes secondary, not in a scale of importance but in a sense of architecture becomes supportive to the landscape.
    When introducing the project in Hawaii, it is amazing to hear that it is possible to go into the outside from the outside. Basically when guests arrive, they enter into the premise of their “house” by entering into the landscape. Then they gradually enter into the built structure, as soon as they are “inside”, they are “outside” again. This blurring of interior/exterior boundary really focuses on the natural beauty of the landscape, allowing the guests to really enjoy the “outside” nature. Coming from an architecture background, it is very rare to see architecture built to compliment the landscape instead of the other way around. This lecture is opened up another way of thinking for me!

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  6. The lecture is very interesting. Before, I did not give much thought on hospitality design and did not realize that landscape architects play a vital role in hospitality master planning and design. The philosophy of the design about bringing everything back to the origins and evolution is very new to me. For example, horizon and points are the simplest shapes that comprise the whole world. I agree with the argument that it is crucial to pull unique richness out of different places in order to create sense of place which is very similar to concepts in urban design where we always try to emphasize place identity and attachment for each individual community and district.

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  7. Before this lecture I did not think much about the relationship between landscape and hospitality design and both speakers helped me understand the concept of it a little more. It was amazing to hear about all the different ideas of designing landscapes particularly for people so that they will have memories from the interactions with it. I believe that many times landscape architects get so into projecting their own ideas of how landscapes “have” to look and forget the most important part of whether those designs would make an impact on someone or not. It was refreshing to hear that going above and beyond in your work/field is still existent.

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