2014 Award of Merit, Florida Chapter American Society of Landscape Architects
The Pavilion Beach Club is a 3 acre amenity property of Christophe Harbour, a 2,500 acre development enclave located on the southeastern peninsula of St. Kitts. The open-air venue includes a Palapa beach bar, fitness and changing bungalow, infinity edge pool, fire pit, private pocket beaches and direct beach access.
The design was driven by two ambitions: to create a sheltered place of leisure and relaxation, and to transform the abandoned land into a symbol of a thriving tourism, hospitality and service industry. The development company’s Director of Design and Planning selected Raymond Jungles after featuring an image of a beachfront residential pool in the Bahamas, designed by Raymond, as initial inspiration for the project. He was engaged early in the design process and convinced the Architect, John Haley, to not only raise the dining room’s elevation to 20.5 feet to maximize views, but to push the additional structures back to circumvent potential distractions to the horizon line.
The Pavilion is located in the remnant dry forest zone with a relatively dry climate, high evaporation rates and an average annual precipitation of 34 inches. The existing site was once heavily forested and subsequently was a burned-over area with Manchineel, Seagrape and beach strand vegetation occurring intermittently at the shoreline. With this in mind, Raymond selected plant material that could withstand this unique beachfront environment. With a concern for Lethal Yellowing of Coconut Palms, he selected disease resistant cultivars and mixed species of palms. All of the plantings were chosen for their strong salt and wind tolerance. The majority of plant material was sourced and shipped by barge from Homestead, Florida, in 40 foot flat racks and 40 foot refrigerated containers.
The pool sits at elevation 18 feet, while the dune vegetation grows below and beyond at elevation 10 feet. Raymond raised the infinity edge to 7 feet to shield the sight of members walking beneath, on their way to the beach. The pool planter and edge conditions are covered by specimen boulders and cascading groundcovers. Due to the pool’s proximity to the beach, water quality is controlled by double sand filtration and a salt chlorine sanitation system.
A series of shallow retention basins were created for erosion control and Paspalum grass seeding was used to stabilize landforms. The soil from on-site was sifted to obtain larger material for stone walls. Non-sifted soil was used for fill. Raymond engaged local contractors to set locally-sourced boulders and to layout and install plant material. The team communicated through redlined photographs of weekly site progress.
The Pavilion’s architecture is imbued with the spirit of St. Kitts. The soaring interior blends colonial and contemporary, designed to celebrate open spaces, from the breezeway of the entry building to the dining room’s 9,400 square foot wall-less structure. The neutral colors and an array of polished materials compliment the natural hues of the rolling dunes and wave breaks. Materiality marries the interior and exterior through the use of flagstone. It appears as a veneer on the architectural structures and as paving material for the garden pathways and pool deck. The 3 inch thick flagstone transitions from mortar joints to grass joints throughout the site.
From the Palapa beach bar, members follow pathways carved through existing Seagrape vegetation to intimate pocket beaches for private sunbathing before submerging themselves in the calm and glimmering ocean. With a staff of 12 local “Kittean” employees, the Pavilion is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Architect: John Haley
Location: St. Kitts, West Indies
Photography: Patrick O’Brien and Stephen Dunn