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Destination architects

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The Destination and Coastal Architect-Designer is an individual in the profession of design or architecture, who embodies the necessary education and creativity to develop theme, resort, hospitality and waterfront projects which are intended to increase the attractant value, business savvy, environmental sustainability, social/cultural and economic resources of the stakeholders/clients who are seeking imaginitive and innovative solutions to hospitality, travel and tourism initiatives.

The Destination Design process combines traditional architectural design with theatrical design, entertainment design, and theme design for the development of destinations, with particular attention to marine/waterfront-coastal issues.

A destination architect or designer/planner works in the hospitality, travel and tourism industry providing services to clients who are contemplating projects and products, and who desire assistance with the conceptualizing and preliminary design work, which will later inform the project architect in preparing construction documents; some destination architects may serve as both preliminary designer and project architect, when professional practice and regulation laws permit.

The destination design professional provides the client with the information necessary for a successful destination development. He accomplishes this through analysis of existing developments that would represent competition in the proposed geographic location of the project. In addition, research is conducted into the history of the competition’s development pathway with a review of their current marketing strategy. Further, studies are undertaken to ascertain what the market potential is, how far people will travel to visit the proposed destination, and what they might expect when they arrive. Current trends are observed at the tentative location in terms of visitor interests, attitudes and potential value of various attractants.

Concept Studies utilize information gained during the Market Assessment to determine what type of architectural/destination design will best serve as an attractant. This step will determine the most feasible of all the development alternatives, as well as satellite services and amenities, such as hotels, golf courses, restaurants and retail shopping offerings as desired by the developer and host community. Care is given to protect special demographic, cultural, social and natural resources, while ensuring the success of the development. Numerous sketches, representational drawings, models and computations are produced to fully visualize the proposed destination planned specifically for a designated site. The materials produced from this preliminary design work will be used to secure financing and recruit joint venture partners. This phase will also explore the site’s potentials and restrictions in terms of environmental and topographic realities, which must be addressed eventually by the project architect when preparing construction documentation.

Such professionals use recreational, theatrical and entertainment design knowledge together with legal, scientific and technical requirements to assess prudent planning decisions. Destination Design professionals may be involved in hospitality projects, resorts, theme parks and exotic destinations. In addition, they may design for travel and tourism projects, or be involved in watercourse, shoreline and basin protection.

The professional body for destination architects is the Institute of Destination Architects and Designers (IDAD) [5] Destination Design

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