As I mentioned in my previous construction update, it often looks like not much is happening on site; such is the case with progress made over the past two months, as the majority of our work has been underground. However, we’ve now finished drilling and pouring caissons for all of the buildings at the Primera Inn, and have been doing foundation work on the garage, pool, and outdoor pavilion areas. It’s quite a bit of work, though the site itself only looks a little different than it did back in January.
It’s been a pretty fun time (for me) to be on site and helping out with the construction work: the kind of site work we are doing around the pool and outdoor pavilion and terrace areas inevitably involves a fair amount of designing in the field, both in order to work through technical issues that always come up when you encounter the unexpected underground, and also because it’s really only while you are on site that you can see how terraces and foundations interact with the land’s natural grade. So while I was on the island this month, I was able to make a lot of subtle adjustments that will help the architecture blend into the natural landscape better.
Speaking of blending design and nature, I also snapped a couple of photos which show how our caisson foundation system allows us to better blend into nature.
The picture above shows about a quarter of the caissons we’ve poured, all sticking up out of the ground like a small forest of tree stumps (some of them go pretty far back in the picture, near the small crew you can see busily working on the foundation for the parking area). If you look closely, you’ll see that the two caissons most forward in the picture are each just a foot or three from a tree. But since they were drilled into the ground, and the buildings themselves will be on beams a couple feet off the ground, we were able to prevent any disturbance of the trees’ root systems. The building walls will be just feet from the tree trunks, creating that sense of “immersion in the jungle” that we want our guests to feel while staying with us, and allowing the trees to provide shade to the buildings: a good example of simple passive design.
In short, because we are using the underground “forest of caissons” extending down to bedrock as our foundation system, we’re able to maintain the existing above-ground forest of trees immediately around the buildings: