Illa Bimini Resort & Residences
A ‘kit of parts’ harnesses design efficiencies to keep costs down while creating luxury on this remote Bahamian island.
Illa Bimini Resort & Residences epitomizes culturally appropriate, sustainable design. The low-impact development is designed to disappear within the landscape and to be discovered upon exploration. Carefully scaled and arranged, villas, cabanas, and hotel spaces give the effect of a small village across the 40-acre site, their modular, minimal structures screened by landforms and vegetation to create subtlety and privacy.
Protected mangrove forests along the coastline formed part of the wider understanding of the site and contemplation of place. Our close collaboration with landscape architect Raymond Jungles looks to replace invasive exotic species with native plants and trees. Inspired by the ancient civilization of Angkor Wat, the landscape is designed to veil the buildings so that architecture can be ‘found’ in the jungle. Other low-impact solutions include forming pathways and roads with compacted sand, allowing the natural environment to feel as untouched and raw as possible.
The greatest challenge when designing for a remote location such as Bimini in the Bahamas is restricted access to materials, technology, and labor. We developed architectural ideas based on familiar local building techniques so the Bimini community can benefit economically from the resort’s construction, as much as it will from its ongoing operation.
The design distills and simplifies local board-and-batten construction to create a sophisticated aesthetic matched contextually in texture and tone. Modular, cubic forms provide cost and program efficiencies—a ‘kit of parts’ that can be assembled into different compositions according to function. Playing against the fluid shapes of the land and coast, they bring about an experience of simple luxury within a rich and diverse natural landscape.