Location Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur
Scope Landscape Architecture
The design for Las Ventanas draws upon the raw beauty of the Baja Peninsula – its rugged landforms, native plants, beaches and skies – to create a resort that lies gently on its coastal site. Using a vocabulary of indigenous plant material, local materials and enhancing the sites existing drainage patterns, SWA designed a place which celebrates the drama of this harsh, water-starved desert setting. The Las Ventanas site rolls gently from the main highway leading to Cabo San Lucas to the aquamarine surf of the Sea of Cortez. The designers prepared many site plan options, which they staked out in the field and studied with the entire team to fully understand the patterns of prevailing winds, topography, and site lines. The resulting plan makes use of an existing granite escarpment by placing buildings at the base of the escarpment and along the ridgeline above. This allows for a low-density site plan which preserves site features while providing every unit with a panoramic view to the horizon. The final program consists of 61 suites situated in eight buildings, four villas, a main reception polapa, restaurant, and conference, spa and retail facilities. The landscape architects sought environmentally responsible sources of native plants. One such source was a nearby property in the process of being cleared for use as a landfill. Here the landscape architects found large quantities of locally indigenous plants including the Torte tree, the statuesque Palo Adan, Sotol and Agave along with Pitaya and Bisnagia cactus species. Moving these plants for reuse at the resort site preserved hundreds of native plants which would otherwise have been destroyed. The arroyos (drainageways) which carry water from the mountains to the sea inspired the resort pool design. Originating at the reception area in shallow basin, the pool courses its way through the site towards the open sea beyond. Boulders reclaimed from the site help to define the pool’s sinuous form and create a necessary change in elevation along the existing topography of the site. Small pools in the boulders invite swimmers to rest for a moment and take in the panorama of Las Ventanas. The landscape architects led a multi-disciplinary team which included the architect, the civil engineer, development consultant, and a very active and interested owner. The work of the landscape architects included site planning, building placement, grading, lighting, all site amenities, and construction observation. Artisans from all over Mexico crafted the landscape architect's design and their works distinguished this very special place.