The 1989 competition entry for a resort in Santo Domingo, was for Elia Zenghelis (teacher, co-founder and former partner of OMA) and Eleni Gigantes the occasion for questioning the limits and the conventional relationship between city and nature.
Whereas the dense urban core usually moves outward towards the suburb, agriculture and then wild nature, Las Terrenas Resort (here’s the title of the project) reverses the sequence: here, wild nature inhabits the center and architecture delineates the boundary.
The project is, in fact, the “city’s invention and alter ego”.
The terrains (asphalt, sand, tile paving, salt water, sweet water, chlorinated water, lawn, forest), their juxtaposition, overlapping, gliding past each other… through a Samba-inspired choreography, dictate the use of the site.
Private vs. public, formal vs.casual, convivial vs. reverie – the terrains promote divergent, contrasting sensations, often as aspects of the same condition.
Central in this unbuilt project is the role of the water and the artificial production of nature. The site is separated by the ocean by a coastal road. A first excavation creates an inner bay. A second one makes a freshwater lake. A third excavation is a rectangular, 420m x 8m swimming pool (echoing OMA obsession for this particular type so elongated).
Excavated earth is then reused to create undulating hillscape – a Sierra – on which villas are lifted, or to be placed on the ocean as a public archipelago of floating islands (another OMA topos), each with a separate program and terrain (tennis courts, terraces, forest, sand oyster bar, pier and breakwater).
Las Terrenas Resort
Dominican Republic, 1989
Architects: Elia Zenghelis and Eleni Gigantes
Via: Hidden Architecture