07-14-20 | Feature

A Harder Hard Rock Venue

Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida

Above: Florida's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood had its exterior designed by EDSA of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. According to Craig Stoner, the project manager for EDSA and one of the landscape architect designers, the scope of that firm's work included having a hand in the master plan and detailing everything from the resort pools to the plantings around stormwater ponds. In between those two ends were custom cabanas, the entry sequence, the arrivals and pavements.
The Resort relied on a multi-discipline design effort to become a reality. Besides EDSA, this included Klai Juba Wald Architecture, BrightView, aquatic engineers Cloward H2O and DeSimone Consulting Engineers.
This waterfall and accompanying basin is 8,400 square feet in surface area. The water in this feature is treated with its own system before being recirculated. Unmei LED Lighting and Circuitry provided 29, 54-watt lights to illuminate the 16' water wall as well as the lights in the water feature on the next page.
Dual waterfalls cascade into the recreation lake, which also has its own separate and very extensive treatment system. Sixteen 40-watt LEDs were used to light these falls.
EDSA did not handle construction management, but they did do observation, making sure their design intent came through. Stoner says he was onsite almost every other week for three or four days at a time, working with the owner and the contractor. "We were solving problems in the field."
This pool originally had a beach entry where guests walk right in but that took up a lot of swimming room, so the decision was made to change the layout, put in stairs, alter some of the interior fittings of plumbing and deal with additional finshes and copings, which all took an extra two or three months to complete.
A lagoon-style heated pool retreat is one of the innovative touches at the resort. People can paddle board and canoe around this recreational lake with a surface area of 97,700 square feet.
Installed on the exterior of the hotel were 16,800 V-sticks (strips of LED video fixtures) and six vertical 'guitar' strings that run down its middle. Each evening, the hotel becomes a temporary light installation with interactive choreography set to music from Float4 and LED experts SACO Technologies. The "strings" are equipped with LED cannons whose beams can rotate or shine in programmed patterns as well.

A hotel shaped like an electric guitar, designed by Steve Peck of the Las Vegas-based firm Klai Juba Wald Architecture, is the main attraction of the $2.4 billion project, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, located in Hollywood, Florida.

Coming in a close second are the acres of pools, water features and surrounding landscape by EDSA of Fort Lauderdale.

The entire project, erected in conjunction with DeSimone Consulting Engineers, took nearly 10 years to design and build and showcases amazing light displays that includes a design by DCL out of Boston, which equipped the exterior of the 36-story building with programmable LED cannons that can change colors, patterns and perform animation.

Also included in the lighting scheme are underwater LEDs provided by Unmei, a wholesale supplier from Ponce, Ontario. The aquatic designers, Cloward H2O, originally planned to use other lights but "the client asked for another possible supplier, so Lee Fain of Brightview brought us to the table," enthuses Colleen Fraser, the owner of the supplier, who is constantly on the outlook for the best and most innovative lighting solutions available. She adds that "Pacific Aquascape International of Fountain Valley, California, with Robert Begay in charge of this project, installed my company's lights in the recreational lake."

The "Guitar" Idea
"The project was conceptualized with Jim Allen, (Seminole's CEO) and the architect," reflects Craig Stoner of EDSA who was their project manager. "And we got involved, from concept to detail design, bringing in all the nuts and bolts and MEPS and water feature engineers. We have a good relationship with Hard Rock and Jim Allen. We have worked with him on several of his projects throughout his career."

Working directly with Klai Jubawald, the architecture firm, which also has a long relationship with Allen, EDSA even helped conceptualize the style of architecture "so there is a lot of blending between the two when it comes to the pool decks of that scale and size out there," Stoner says.

The Landscape

"We designed pretty much everything on the ground," states Stoner who was also one of the landscape architect designers along with Derek Gagne and Rich Centolella. "Rich and Derek were more on the front end - more the conceptualizing, the big idea and then I got involved with the orientation. So those guys got it through concept and schematic and I picked it up through design development and construction documentation and CA. We all work to our strengths to make it work the best."

This scope of work included "even as far as back of house areas where we were just doing some cleanup of the property, so it was quite comprehensive," Stoner recalls.

EDSA dates back around 60 years. They work all around the world, on very impressive projects. Besides hospitality work, they get into the public realms as well across the world. Finding the global hotbeds have been part of their success. So, for instance, in the downturn of 2008-2009, they looked towards China for projects.

"That allows us to be flexible, be nimble and it also allows us to bring design ideas and cultures and experiences to a lot of different projects and see a lot of the world," Stoner says. "We are big thinkers. Placemaking has been in our expertise for a long time."

The company is strictly a landscape architecture firm with no engineers or building architects. They do however have an entertainment division, which does a lot of work with theme parks such as Universal and Disney.

Water Everywhere
Cloward H2O were the aquatic design engineers with the responsibility for all the water filtration, the shell design, piping, plumbing for all of the pools and the swim lake and the water features, according to Damon Roberts, the project manager representing the firm.

"We were brought in probably around the final schematic design stage so we were there from the beginning," remembers Roberts. "They had done some concept work and we had given them some preliminary space design requirements."

He also said that Cloward H2O has worked with EDSA for the last 25 years.

"We like to be involved with landscape architects because they do a lot of creative things," Roberts states.

To Stoner, the large scale of the project topped this list. "You are dealing with the buildings, the MEP that goes along with the building, how that translates into site lighting, all the underground stormwater," he says. "There is almost 2 acres of water there just in pools. And then we have a 2-acre swimming lagoon and all those bodies of water means there is a lot of stuff underground that you don't get to see all the time and we as landscape architects have to know what is underground and make everything work and then we have to put on a layer of icing on top that makes it beautiful. From a big standpoint, that is our challenge a lot of the times because engineers kind of work it as 'this is how it has to be' and then we have to come in and satisfy the client, satisfy the guest experience and there is always things that change."

A specific challenge was when Allen, Seminole's CEO, who was very hands-on, was not sure one of the pools had enough decking to accommodate the amount of lounges needed so everyone could have that great guest experience that they are looking for.

"So we literally had to rip out and add deck in other areas." Stoner admits. "Having a client that is very involved in the design and knows what they are looking at, he was out there walking the site every week looking at things and seeing how they were shaping up and questioning, which is a good thing because you are always going to put the best product out there - the best design and best ideas."

Roberts agrees that the size and scope of the exterior layout was perplexing.

"It seems like it is a big area but when we put as many pools and that in it, it chewed it up pretty quick," he explains. "So with all of the other utilities for storm drains, sanitary sewer, power, electrical, it got pretty challenging making sure everybody had enough space to run their utility along with our aquatic piping and more, so there was a lot of coordination between structure, civil, mechanical/electrical/plumbing, landscape and architecture. We were all working closely together to make sure everything fit in the space it was supposed to fit."

Count this one as a tour de force.

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