It is the Landscape Architect that can make a great project an even
better project, turning a first class resort into a world class resort.
It has only been recently for the Landscape Architect to receive recognition
for his or her part in this transformation. Partially because of past
economics and trends, since landscaping was always the last phase of
construction, it was always the first to be cut back when construction
costs would soar past estimated budgets.
The Landscape Architect's process on site transformation relies on
many personal skills and teamwork from others. Their insight to creating
a balance between land and its inhabitants is one that generates and can
promote feelings of satisfaction, comfort, security, and pleasure. One
such person, Edward D. Stone Jr., has this ability and along with his
associates, have created a successful team that was won them numerous
awards in all areas of Landscape Architecture.
Edward D. Stone, Jr. and Associates (EDSA) is one of the
country's ten largest Landscape Architectural firms, founded in
the year 1960, it has grown to 124 employees, with five offices
in the United States and two in France (Evans 66). The firm's
expertise relies in the areas of: Coastal planning, CAD, computer
assisted analysis / planning, environmental analysis, golf course
design, graphic design, institutional design, land use planning,
master planning, parks & recreation, residential site design,
resort planning, site planning, urban design, waterfront
planning. (Evans 66).
EDSA's statements on principles, process, and commitment
acknowledges and contributes to their success. Outlined in their
company's presentation brochure they state: "We are, first of
all, landscape architects. Our training, our profession, and our
practice deal primarily with land use. Each application of land
use and site planning principles varies widely, from the most
sensitive natural environment to the most intensely developed
urban setting" (Barrows 1). On their process, it "is resource
based: a series of studies that carefully analyze the
opportunities and constraints of each project provide the basis
of each land plan or design solution. In the instance of the
natural site, this analysis evolves from a series of natural
factors such as vegetation, soils, and drainage. In an urban
setting it develops from surrounding land use, accessibility and
zoning factors" (Barrows 1). And their commitment "is to use
broad interdisciplinary input to develop a plan which adapts the
environment for the benefit of both man and nature" (Barrows 1).
EDSA also provides a wide range of Landscape Architectural
services such as: land use programming; physical land use
analysis: existing land use and zoning, soils, drainage,
accessibility, topography, vegetation; land use feasibility;
coast benefit analysis; detailed site development design:
landscape grading and drainage, road alignment, site lighting,
site furniture, site graphics, site and construction details and
planting and design.
P L A N N I N G & D E S I G N
Although the firm offers the previous services, sixty
percent of their work resides in resort planning and design.
Earlier resort projects in the Bahamas, Venezuela, and Mexico
which enabled the firm, as Stone says "... taught us how people
recreate and what the resort experience is" (Glass 19). One of
EDSA's first recognitions for resort design came with the Hyatt
Regency Maui project. The landscape construction is a commitment
to the quality of the site, it enhances the site rather than
detracting from it, for this, it has received numerous awards.
The success of this property, recognized by Hyatt, is due to its
Further development of EDSA's insight to resort design
became clearer when EDSA was commissioned to landscape Babin Kuk,
a 500 acre vacation village in Yugoslavia.
The firm was teamed up with Stone's father, Edward Durell Stone Sr., a well known
architect in New York. EDSA's participation consisted of master
planning services, site landscape development, with on-site
construction supervision. The initial site included four hillside
hotels; a central pedestrian street bordered by shops and restaurants,
a post office, and a bank; various recreational facilities. Stone
comments that resort design has evolved from "what the resort
experience is" to "what the resort experience should be - life
to its fullest without the hassles - so we tried to get rid of
the automobile and get back to a more utopian society" (Glass 19).
Babin Kuk became a 5,000 bed resort that was designed to
blend around its beautifully landscaped settings. Some of which
were restored because of devastation left by World War II, and
others were only minutely altered to accommodate construction.
The eroded landscape forms were features that had shaped the
region's architecture, so the design teams utilized that process
and also designed in response to them (Barclay 142). The site
from architecture to landscape is symbiotic, Barclay writes "It
is a lovely place with site and buildings enjoying an unusually
close harmony; a harmony shared by owners and architects, by
Americans and Yugoslavs, across a breach that has sometimes
seemed unnaturally wide" (144).
An interesting aspect for the landscape architect is how
each project and every site is different, presenting new
challenges and inspiring creativity (Glass 21). Yet, somehow
these projects will often be linked to previous projects.
Similarly is that of the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, another
site that capitalizes on the large scale resort design of Babin
Kuk. The Grand Cypress Resort is adjacent to Walt Disney World
and Epcot Center in Orlando Florida. Occupying 920 acres it
features an 18 story, 750 room hotel that is designed around a 21
acre lake and marina, and one of the world's largest free form
swimming pools. The pool became a major wonder of the planning
process for the hotel, EDSA calls it "adventurously designed," it
incorporates three levels, 12 cascading waterfalls, a 45 foot
waterslide, 3 jacuzzis, and a grotto bar all amongst a lush
tropical lagoon setting (Glass 21).
John W. Miller, Senior Vice-President of EDSA's Orlando
office was in charge of the Grand Cypress Resort project. He
states that "Grand Cypress was a very unusual project. It took
only three years from start to finish and is extremely well done
for a project of such complexity. [The owners] said they wanted
to make it the best project in the industry. Everybody says that
but these people [Dutch Institutional Holding Company of Atlanta]
actually did it" (Glass 21)! "Grand Cypress, he insists, sings"
(Glass 21). Miller also emphasizes: "We look at all our work as
really taking what we call 'the dream' of the developer and being
able to understand it, shape it and create it. We like to be
responsible for staging the entire visual environment, or at
least be able to guide it. Every little piece of a project
shapes the character and the mood of the project and really needs
to be thought through ... even down to soil and signage.
Architecture should respond to the theme, geography or history of
the immediate area. That is part of the whole package. If the
project fails to respond to the need of the overall plan, it's
just another monument" (Glass 21).
Responding to the site, is the main key for another project
by EDSA. The ecological Carambola Beach Resort near St. Croix,
in the Virgin Islands is a unique and extremely different project
for the firm. Carambola was developed by CSX Corporation,
formerly known as Rockresorts, the resort company founded by
Laurence Rockefeller and known for environmental conscience
(Sutro 49). The site plan here is centered on only 26 acres of
the resort's 185 acres, thus protecting ridge tops and leaving
the rest of the acreage open, including a sizeable vegetable
garden for the resorts two restaurants.
Rockresorts horticulture director, Roy Thomas, says "The
idea was that we would make the land work for us, not go in and
change the land around" (Sutro 49). EDSA designed courtyards and
pavilions to focus on a flowing landscape. Thomas, selected
plants to emphasize color, fragrance and local tradition. Palm
species form a nearby palm plantation planted throughout the site
to help unify the landscape. A water reclamation system supplies
most of the resorts water. Caught from the 26 red-roofed, six-plex
cottages, water runs into gutters and into PVC pipes and is
collected into three underground cisterns. The water is then
pumped to a nearby treatment plant to be filtered and chlorinated.
Sewage is treated and supplies enough graywater to irrigate the
Completed in 1988, the resort was destroyed a year later by
hurricane Hugo causing $4 million in damage. Carambola was
restored and reopened in 1990. Only to suffer lacking tourism as
U.S. airlines cut off service to the Virgin Islands, thus closing
again in June 1992. It did re-open under new ownership later
EDSA has designed many other resorts throughout the world,
one, in particular, is Las Hadras in Manzanillo, Mexico. Here the
resort is being combined with a seven distinct developments. And
still a similar project in South Carolina near Hilton Head is
Haig Point, a resort and golfing community. This resort was
planned to adapt to long range economic and market fluctuations
throughout an anticipated 15 year building program (Haig 60).
Other resort projects by EDSA have received awards from the
American Resort and Residential Development Association:
Marriott's Harbor Beach in Ft lauderdale Fl. and Disney's
Caribbean Beach Resort; Florida Chapter of the ASLA: Award of
Excellence for Rio Mar in Santurce Peurto Rico and Carlton House
Inn of Orlando Florida.
The remarkable process that EDSA has achieved with the
resort design industry is one that all Landscape Architects can
benefit from. That is to set standards, like ethics, these are
what build integrity. EDSA has proven in the past to be able to
adapt into the landscape professional business, providing
services to clients on a wide range from the smallest of projects
to the largest of urban and resort designs. This diversity is
one that represents the willingness and sincere effort to stay in
the Landscape Architectural business. Other attributes include
staying on top of the latest in innovative design techniques as
in the use of CAD. "The key to success for EDSA has been a clear
set of objectives for incorporating the computer into practice as
simply another way of meeting the firms overall goal of serving
the client" (Clay 88). Equally important is to provide
comfortable working environment for employees, and of course,
EDSA has succeeded at that. EDSA has been named one of the "10
Great Places to Work in Florida" by Florida Trend Magazine. From
more than 100 firms nominated, EDSA was selected on the basis of
such factors as "financial stability; open communications; equity
ownership, stock options; work place environment (Evans 61).
Simply put, EDSA is a representation of how the best keeps