Friday, January 13, 2012

Jahra School Campus Kuwait Project Awarded to Aqua Design International

Aqua Design International would like to thank Langdon Wilson Architects in Los Angeles.  We are teaming up with LWA on a major project in Kuwait for the Ministry of Education. The project consists of 45 pools and water features spread between three campuses.  The project is designed for special needs children and will accommodate grades K-12. We are excited to be a part of this project.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A little relaxation for some of the Aqua Design Staff

A little relaxation for some of the Aqua Design International staff as they take in an Arizona Diamondbacks game during the D-Backs NL West title run!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Hotel Case Study-Jason Van Bruaene, WATG

A Hotel Case Study-Jason Van Bruaene, WATG
The other day I was perusing the wonderful blog WATG maintains and stumbled upon a post from Jason Van Bruaene that struck me immediately as possessing unflattering pictures...which is rather uncommon for those of us in the business of producing thoughtful, aesthetically pleasing, functional designs that allow for clean ease of construction. Having sufficiently piqued my interested I was delightfully surprised to see that Jason was using the aforementioned unflattering images as a conduit through which to discuss -surprise!- the importance of thoughtful, aesthetically pleasing, functional designs. His blog post can be found at:
While this particular case study focuses exclusively on an unnamed resort property in Vietnam the lessons of this case study could easily be replicated throughout the Pacific Rim as well as Middle East.  A few years ago two of our partners traveled to Dubai for a design charrette and came back nearly as astonished at the poor planning and craftsmanship as Jason on his recent trip to Vietnam. Even the most elementary concepts seemed foreign, including field cutting deck pavers to line-up with and architectural detail -like stairs- illustrated in the second image; or having an aquatics consultant to ensure 300 grade stainless steel handrails are used in the pool so rusting won't occur, as shown in the first image (see escutcheon plate where anchor and rail meet).

Friday, January 6, 2012

A relatively short video extolling the myriad of virtues associated with hiring Aqua Design International. Additionally, there are nice images, calm music, and a soothing feminine voice to tickle even the most fickle of tympanic membranes.

Can You Name the Top 10 Destinations in the U.S.? - From WATG SVP Howard Wolff

We thought this was a fun, somewhat informative post from Howard Wolff of WATG back in February. Apparently Orbitz complied their U.S. booking data to determine the most popular cities to travel to in the United States.  Naturally, WATG is going to plug a couple of their great designs throughout the Hawaiian Islands, but the properties are worth looking at so why not?  Besides, a couple of members of the leadership team are heading off to Hawaii in about a week, so it seemed a fitting post today!

Holiday Wishes from BRW Architects in Dallas, TX

We're pretty big fans of Christmas wishes and group shots so we decided to post this and give a shout to BRW Architects out in Dallas, TX. Their blog can be seen at:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Investing in Good Design: Ritz Carlton Dubai, from Jose Sirera of Gensler

Back in May Jose Sirera of Gensler created an interesting blog post profiling there recent completion of the design of the Ritz Carlton Dubai made profoundly more significant considering the design was executed in the midst of a significant recession both here in the United States as well as the United Arab Emirates. This is a great post, not least as a result of the quality of work (illustrated below in an image from George O'Leary) but for the considerations in the design Jose so eloquently identifies.
Perhaps no other sentence epitomizes these considerations than "As in other regions, a long-term vision with an emphasis on quality will go a long way in this region, resulting in success that is both aesthetic and financial."  Throughout the piece Jose summarizes the need to synthesize a number of client considerations in the project, these include -but are by no means limited to- a long-term vision, interior and exterior spaces specific to the Ritz Carlton Brand as well as an homage to regional tastes, budgetary considerations, and finally the need for sustainable design.  All three of the aforementioned factors speak directly to the necessity of listen to the client's needs so that the aesthetic and financial needs of the client are met.  This is true not only for a prime architect like Gensler, but for sub-consultants like Aqua Design International.  Thank you to Jose and the Gensler team for this enlightening thread!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rethinking Sustainable Hotel Design-Tom Ito, Gensler

Another well-crafted blog synopsis of sustainable hotel design in the hospitality sector prepared by Tom Ito of Gensler takes a brief look at the demand, benefits, and importance of intelligent, sustainable design. Despite the fact that Tom posted this blog in 2010, the content of the post is prescient to this day, if not more so. The blog post is thought provoking and worth having a look at so we here at Aqua Design International have attached a link to his article. In addition to the myriad of sustainable practices mentioned in Tom’s post, we immediately recognize a number of sustainable energy practices available to the hospitality sector in our niche field of aquatics that can help achieve LEED-Gold and LEED-Silver ratings. Such design practices include designing all pools and spas with variable frequency drives (VFD), utilizing high efficiency heaters as well as designing flat-plate and/or evacuated tube solar thermal systems to not only augment the high efficiency pool and spa heater, but to provide hot water for the hotel laundry, kitchen, and bathrooms. Incorporating a simple VFD into the swimming pool design allows the hotel operator to reduce the RPM of the circulation pump along a linear curve of flow reduction while taking advantage of an electricity use reduction along an exponential curve. In layman’s terms, the operator can reduce the RPM’s by half while simultaneously reducing electricity usage by 87.5%. Additionally, using a high-efficiency condensing, or non-condensing, hydronic water heater for the pool and spa achieves an efficiency rating of 98%, which is well above the accepted “high efficiency” standard of 88% in today’s marketplace. Moreover, the cost of installation is substantially reduced because the exhaust flume of a hydronic water heater can be constructed of Sch. 80 PVC as opposed to a costly stainless steel power vent application. Last, much has been made of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to create electricity for residential and commercial use; however, few architects are aware that that a PV solar array produces less than 14% of the energy as a flat plate/evacuated tube solar thermal configuration. The solar thermal energy collection method allows the hotel operator to augment the gas and electric costs associated with heating not only the pool and spa, but the hot water used in hotel kitchens and bathrooms as well as the re-heat required in central HVAC units. With a useful life between 20 and 25 years coupled with a multitude of State and Federal tax incentives a hotel/resort operator can realize a 500-800% ROI over a 15 year period. It is clear, as Tom Ito elucidated in his blog post, that increasingly consumers are demanding sustainable practices in the hospitality sector. Moreover, the energy savings, LEED Certification, and marketing cache generated from these design/renovation practices substantially improve the hotel brand’s positioning in the marketplace while achieving long-term, sustainable operating savings. These, and many other advantages, come with the successful collaboration between an architect, PE, and a knowledgeable and conscientious aquatics consultant like Aqua Design Intl. On behalf of Aqua Design Intl. we extend a warm thanks to Tom Ito and the Gensler staff for bringing forth the issue of sustainable building practices in the hospitality sector.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome Change: Reinvesting in Hotels (By: Tom Ito, Gensler)

This blog post from Tom Ito is of particular interest it has taken us here at Aqua Design Intl. a few months to get this re-posted to our blog, but are happy to do so after the delay. Tom does an excellent job presenting a quandary endemic to the hospitality industry in 2011 (Penny Pinching versus Capital Expenditures) before distilling his own thoughts on the question to a relevant, anecdotal synopsis specific to the collaborative efforts of various hotel brands in concert with Gensler. Thank you for the great blog post Tom!