Local Architects | 12 Elements of a Great Destination


1. Excite and Attract
From the very first glance, and frequently while experiencing the destination. Architectural form, layers, transparency, textures, colors, landscape, furnishings, lighting, water, signage, graphics, media, kinetics, and most of all people on display.

2. Are Architecturally Extraordinary
Ordinary architecture doesn’t form extraordinary places….

3. Have Wide Appeal
Great places are not limited in their appeal, nor targeted toward a niche audience – great destinations, be they retail destinations, resort, entertainment or town center destinations, have broad appeal.

4. Timeless Aesthetics
While a great destination is necessarily a product of its time, its appeal runs much deeper, and addresses basic human needs and desires (Venice’s Piazza San Marco dates to the 9th century, and each of its buildings reflect the styles of the time they were built, yet it has maintained its appeal for 1200 years.)

5. Evocative, Dynamic and Expressive Forms and Spaces
People are the best form of energy within a space, but beyond that, the space itself and the architecture that surrounds it must generate visual movement and energy whether the space is packed with people or not.

6. Appeal to All Five Senses
Great destinations provide eye candy to be sure, but not at the expense of the other four senses – there must be textures and experiences to feel, music, water or chatter (or even sometimes silence) to hear, flowers or cooking to smell and food and drink to taste.

7. Engage and Captivate
Engaging spaces encourage guests to interact with the place and with each other, to actively experience the destination. Captivating spaces gather one’s complete attention, and briefly become one’s world. A space that does both creates an experience that people will want to repeat – often.

8. Extends Stays
Layers of varied yet related experiences, activities and environments give guests multiple reasons to stay longer.

9. Unique and Singular Environment
Uniqueness and consistency of vocabulary, forms, colors, textures and details set a place apart. If there is no place like your place, and its intrinsic character is unique, guests will be uniquely aware of the environment, and will quickly attach their own meaning to it, taking ownership of the destination. Having done so, they will be reticent to leave.

10. Encapsulated
Sometimes referred to as the Disney berm, yet always effective anyway, a visually enclosed environment, much like a favorite room, creates a comfortable environment where guests can for a time forget the world beyond.

11. Variety of Spaces, Districts or Zones
Varied yet related spaces, experiences and activities appeal to a wide variety of guests, appeal during different seasons, times of day, weather conditions or moods; they encourage guests to stay longer and explore further, and welcome them back to sights yet unseen.

12. Changes From Day to Night
The most obvious aspect of the cycle of life is the daily difference between night and day. Spaces that celebrate the differences give reason to stay, or to come back to experience a destination in an entirely different way.

BTA. We are local architects with a world of experience.
See also: www.GlobalDesignWorkshop.com

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Written by

Brent Thompson is expert in destination design: the master planning and architectural design of public places, including retail, resort, entertainment and town center destinations. Thompson has over twenty-five years of experience in architecture, concept design, master planning and urban design for a wide range of domestic and international clients, including every major entertainment company, with a rich portfolio of projects in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and North America. Thompson’s history is unique among architects. He was educated traditionally as an architect and planner, a course he followed in his first ten years of practice. He further had opportunity to live and work in Prague, where he was a founding partner of Architects’ Atelier Praha and refined his theoretical approach to architectural design. Upon his return to the United States two years later, he began a five year parenthesis, designing entertainment venues for most of Hollywood’s major studios. Entertainers are students of human psychology, and expert at the idioms of story telling and metaphors. Hollywood is extremely pragmatic in its approach, and places great emphasis on the “guest experience,” and Thompson emerged from that time a unique designer. Though now running a more traditional architecture and planning practice, he has learned to combine design theory with entertainment based pragmatism. His projects are media rich, multi-layered, metaphorical, expressive and culturally relevant. Perhaps more important, they work. He has throughout his varied career been involved in the pragmatic study of the way people use spaces, and the knowledge gained is the basis for each of his designs. He has further learned how to hear the vision of clients and to translate their vision into reality. Specialties Expert in retail, town center, resort, mixed-use, urban design and public space master planning and architectural design

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