ATELIER VIDAL’S BLUE LAGOON FACELIFT
For those of you who are new to Atelier Vidal let me introduce you. AVL Founder and Director Vidal Dowding is the lead man of a band of architects which includes his spouse Nicole Auden, Alessandra Aziza, John Samuels, Ravi Sittol and Dewayne Webb. They’re the group of hybrid creatives responsible for the revitalization of the Trident Hotel - Jamaica's foremost contemporary resort structure of the decade… I’d say. Dowding is the appointed Design Lead at Portland Holdings - the Jamaican investment firm that owns a slew of businesses like CVM TV, NCB, Wallenford Coffee and Blue Lagoon itself.
The project involves the rebuilding of a restaurant at the Blue Lagoon, one of the greatest natural attractions in Portland. Currently, the old restaurant building is in a dilapidated state and no longer has the spatial capacity to function as a viable investment. The site faces several challenges, with a steeply sloping hill forcing the building forward, the old structure placed pylons in the water to support a covered dining area, these pylons have completely deteriorated and cannot be used. The design options explored included “in-rock”, “over-water” and “hill-top” arrangements. The new design combines in-rock and over-water features, with the key objective being to increase the amount of deck space for guest seating but doing so in a way that prevented the ecological impact of having new pylons placed in the lagoon. Essentially, the design proposes cutting into the hillside to increase the buildable area over land, thereby creating a platform from which a cantilevered deck could be founded. The super-structure consists of laminated timber beams arranged as an enlarged “space-frame” that creates a habitable space. Dining options include the cantilevered lagoon deck, a bar, open air garden dining and private cabanas that surround the perimeter of the lagoon. The service spaces are perpendicular to the main deck, and additional parking and guest bathrooms are located on the gardens, south of the main building.