Looking Forward

30 Mar 2011

Seeking to redefine the boundaries of hospitality

With a strong regard for sustainable design and a fascination with innovation in the realm of process and methodology, Heath May trys to press the envelope of his own experience in ways that help him learn with each new opportunity.

Recently, he has been working with colleagues to experiment with scripting and parametric design in a manner that relates more to solving functional problems than aesthetic expression—an extension of the architect’s brainpower. A conceptual project, cliff_hanger hotel, seeks to redefine the boundaries of hospitality by challenging existing notions and suggesting that context might drive the experience of a hotel in a new way. Carrying some heavy environmental responsibilities with this concept of suspension and immersion in environment, he challenges himself here to minimize the environmental impact of hanging a hotel off the side of the Grand Canyon, or the Golden Gate Bridge, or other similarly spectacular wonders of our world.

Heath May feels the success of this project is the communication of the concept, the raw emotion and feelings evoked by the imagery, both positive and negative. He believes this dialogue is vital to the future of architecture and design because it is, at its essence, the most primary way we learn.cliff_hanger hotel placed in the top 4 of the Radical Innovations in Hospitality competition, 2009 and made the short list for the WAN 2010 Commercial Awards.

Xiamen Straights Forum illustrates Heaths continuing effort to distill his thoughts into a pure expression. He seeks to communicate the idea of balance here, which speaks to the concept of creating a level, fair forum for talks between the juggernaut of mainland China and the geographically smaller, but politically defiant Taiwan. Heath feels an obligation to express the current issues of the place, and the rate of change in the politics of the world today is something that he deems one of the defining issues of our generation.

Straights forum made the Long List for the WAN 2010 Civic Buildings Awards. A Net-Zero + project, in collaboration with a team of consultants, Sustainable Urban Living represents their vision of the future for urban residences in the city of Dallas, TX. Receiving an award from Urban Re:Vision for Breadth of Research, this residential complex is a power plant. The building not only uses zero energy from the grid, it delivers energy to the neighbourhood, using a strategy employing Enhanced Geothermal Energy, tapping into the earth’s natural geothermal heat over 2 miles beneath the surface of the particular location. Borrowing from existing oil-drilling technology, they adapt this method to tap a much more powerful, clean and abundant resource of superheated steam. Sustainable Urban Living won a 2010 Chicago Athenaeum Green Good Design Award. Reciprocity to their communities and profession, through service, illustrates an approach to sustaining both in their professional knowledge and responsible citizenship.

Participating in the inaugural Dallas AIA Emerging Leaders Program in 2009 convinced Heath to co-chair the program in 2010, volunteering his efforts to the education of our profession’s future leaders and giving back to the community through a service project, in which the Emerging Leaders class developed a master plan and raised funds to build sports fields in a neighbourhood in West Dallas. The Emerging Leaders Program received the 2010 AIA National Grassroots Excellence Award.

Key Facts

Commercial Hotels Urban design
United States

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