Belawal Hussain

Belawal Hussain, an Architectural Assistant from our London office, attended the Burning Man festival in Nevada, USA with a team of creatives to construct an architectural sculpture in the desert. Below are his thoughts on the experience.

You have probably heard of / about 'Burning Man,' and you have most probably heard wrong, The general perception is that Burning Man is full of debauchery and hedonism (which it is) but there is so much more to the makeshift community than that. I found it to be a place for self-expression without judgement. A place where you can let your 'inner freak' loose, meet others of your kind, and have the chance to remove yourself from the daily grind.

Burning Man Sculpture

Located just outside of Reno, you drive away from the colourful, hustle and bustle of Nevada into an expanse of dry lake bed. The further you get into the desert, the more you start forgetting the real world and become immersed into another. The atmosphere is liberal and benevolent, it fosters creativity and unlocks the more reserved part of your psyche. If you cut the festival in half, creativity would flow freely. TEDX talks were a key draw and covered a wide range of topics including 'Creative Truth ~ Intentional Lives' by Crimson Rose and 'Fail Smart' by Jon La Grace, all with the underlying theme of freedom, peace and general happiness.

Burning Man is unique and unlike any festivals you may have been to previously, the emphasis lies in self organisation and the community that can be created by people with a similar vision of the world uniting. There are less organised events and more self developed activities to participate in. Wherever you look, sculptures are being created and people are performing - artistic expression is rife.

Over the past few decades, the quality of architecture created at Burning Man has been outstanding. This year pre-fabrication and repetitive patterns gathered from the environment were a noticeable trend, the level of intricacy afforded by certain techniques has really pushed the design forward. It was a creative and diverse melting pot of ideas, inspiring the unusual and peculiar. Some of the most beautiful structures I witnessed included Arbour, Cirque du Reflexions, Totem of Confessions and the Mazu Temple. Being part of a team creating a structure to be burnt in the grand finale gave me the chance to gain hands on experience in construction, this opportunity highlighted the need for prototypes, experiment and testing thoroughly before jumping into the final design. It also highlighted the need for planning, creating a project with so many passionate architects, with so many ideas can be amazing, but also unproductive at times.

A final takeaway was provided by my mentor Kevin Scholl, he used Hunter S. Thompson to sum up the festival and my experience perfectly - "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming Wow! What a Ride!"

Photographs by Francesco Montaguti

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Greg Tong

As part of our 70th Anniversary celebration, we'll be revisiting past articles and interviews of our founders and past employees of WATG. The following is part 2 of an article written by Greg Tong published in the May 1979 issue of The Cornell H.R.A. Quarterly. Greg shares his experience of being the first Western architect to do work in the People's Republic of China (before diplomatic relations were established). The Huashan and Kweilin hotels were never built.
Click here for part 1.


Paving the Way for Future Construction
In working on the Huashan project, we were keenly aware of our responsibility to derive an elegant architectural solution that would set high standards for future buildings of a similar nature. Furthermore, as one of the first major highrises, the Huashan will be used not only as a model for later projects but also as a thorough teaching laboratory in design, construction, and operation for contractors, technicians, and other workers from throughout the People's Republic.

Avoiding urban sprawl was one of our main objectives in developing design plans for the Huashan Hotel's physical structure. Shanghai is the world's most populous city, but the Chinese were reluctant to release the productive agricultural land surrounding Shanghai for new construction; they preferred the notion of high-density construction in the inner city.

The present skyline of central Shanghai is 18 to 20 stories high, and we first considered maintaining this height for the Huashan. Because of the required capacity, however, this plan would have resulted in a massive, squat building. The Chinese accepted instead our plans for a slender, 38-story property.

The Huashan HotelThe Huashan Hotel will be one of the first modern highrises in China. The Chinese are technically capable of building highrises but the shortage of modern construction equipment has deterred them from constructing buildings taller than 24 stories . Heavy construction equipment, climbing cranes, pile drivers, and concrete pumps will all be imported for the project, as will cement and reinforcing steel (the Chinese manufacture these two products but not in sufficient quantity to meet the needs of the nation's current construction program). Glass is also limited in quality and size; as far as we have been able to determine, the largest pane available is about three feet by six feet.

Harmony and Horticulture
The Chinese city planners are particularly sensitive to the problem of maintaining harmony with existing buildings. We believe that the proposed design for the Huashan Hotel will serve as an example for future Shanghai construction, demonstrating how to make a thoughtful transition from the existing to the new. While most of the existing structures are short and broad, the Huashan has a broad base and grows narrower at the top. This design lends stability to the building--an important consideration in an earthquake zone--and relates well to the shape of other buildings, creating a graceful silhouette. Also contributing to a sense of Chinese architectural style, however subtly, is the gentle sweep of the parapet, reminiscent of traditional Chinese rooftops. Shanghai has a distinctive ambience, and although we are pleased to be involved in a project that will contribute to the city's modernization, we tried in our design to preserve the unique character of the area.

Although Shanghai's planners have chosen to accept high-density construction in the inner city, the love of open spaces and gardens is still very strong among the Chinese. Plants abound in even the most crowded streets of the most metropolitan cities. In Shanghai, the main thoroughfares are not very wide (perhaps six lanes at their widest) and thus are quite crowded, yet they are lined with trees even in the heart of the city. To reflect this emphasis on nature, 60 percent of the Huashan site will be left open for landscaping, with the remaining 40 percent allocated to building coverage. The "back of the house" roof deck will also be landscaped. This is an especially generous amount of landscaping for an urban hotel--and it was the planners' emphasis on open space and gardens, more than any other factor, that dictated the height and shape of the Huashan's design.

Although we were called upon to incorporate many unusual features in our design of the Huashan Hotel, these peculiar design requirements did not pose any serious problem because the Chinese planners' needs were communicated to us at a preliminary stage. Sometimes confused by a particular request, we would ask why that component was necessary--and once we understood the logic we were often able to suggest alternative approaches (for example, that they import a piece of equipment unavailable or unknown in China).

Under the present Chinese system of central government, it is relatively simple to accelerate the construction of a project if the project is considered sufficiently important. For example, if the Shanghai hotel is deemed of high priority in relation to national goals, the assigned construction team can request that skilled technicians and laborers from throughout the country be brought in to work on the project (perhaps directly from a project of lower priority). In other words, the team can bring in 200 electricians simply by asking, if it deems it advisable to do so. The priority system applies not only to the nation's labor pool but also to the supply of raw materials for construction. As a result, China can complete a priority project in record time, even without sophisticated building equipment, just by applying sheer numbers of workers to the project.

The Inscrutable West
From our point of view, the most demanding aspect of this undertaking was probably not our unfamiliarity with Chinese design requirements and technology but the need for secrecy during our earliest negotiations. It is a company policy to maintain complete confidentiality regarding any project under negotiation, but the need for circumspection was especially critical in this case because we entered into negotiations before the United States established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic. Obviously, any word that our firm was negotiating with the Chinese would have received a great deal of news coverage, which could conceivably have brought the project to a halt.

Only the firm's partners knew of the negotiations. Even our secretaries, who typed all of the correspondence pertaining to the projects, were kept in the dark; we referred only to "Project A" (the Huashan Hotel) and "Project B" (the Kweilin resort) in our letters. We booked flights into Hong Kong--because our firm is active in the Hong Kong area, this raised no suspicions--and our contact there arranged for our travel into China.

A Passage to China
Our negotiations with the Chinese began only in September of last year, but it was almost a decade ago that we made a formal corporate decision to try entering the Chinese market (because it seemed clear that the U.S. would establish normal trade relations with China before long, and because one simply can't ignore a nation with a fourth of the world's population).

Presentation to Chinese authorities

After attempts to establish contact through American and Canadian agencies failed, we worked through interests in Hong Kong, which had established trade relations with China. Robert Kuok, a Hong Kong entrepreneur we had worked with before, arranged the meetings with Chinese officials that culminated in our undertaking of the projects. The two planned hotels represent a joint venture of the China Travel Service--a tourism-development and construction agency--and Kuok Travel Service.

As part of its tourism-expansion program, China plans to develop hotels in major cities and scenic resort destinations throughout the country- and it is looking to the United States for much of the outside expertise needed to implement the program. From the Huashan project the Chinese will learn modern design and construction techniques. And we expect to learn a great deal from the Chinese about their construction methods, particularly as they relate to cultural design elements. We hope to incorporate local ethnic touches wherever possible in the Huashan (in recreation areas, for example, or a specialty dining room). It is our intent not to create a contemporary highrise hotel that looks like a Chinese pagoda, but rather to design a hotel whose exterior has international appeal, with cultural elements reflected in the interior design.

We were favorably impressed with both the technical ability and the receptive attitude of the Chinese: they are ready to accept the most modern concepts in design and construction. They are also quick to grasp both the direct and intangible implications of proposed design solutions and to assess the relative merits of hypothetical situations. China's modernization is likely to take the form of planned, controlled growth, rather than the haphazard, piecemeal development common to many emerging nations; in making decisions, Chinese planners give priority to long-term rather than short-term considerations and emphasize, in Western vernacular, "the big picture."

Model of Downtown Shanghai

The planners used a model of downtown Shanghai, pictured above, to determine how each proposed design would affect and be affected by the rest of the cityscape. They also photographed the site from various distances and an artist sketched in the proposed hotels to determine how each would complement the city's skyline.

After we had completed our presentations and proposals, the Chinese met alone for one day of discussions and gave us the go-ahead on the next day.

Communication was sometimes problematic. Imprecise translation of correspondence made it difficult to divine what the Chinese wanted and needed in the way of design. For example, we initially thought they had asked us to design buildings similar to existing structures-and discovered only when we met face to face, with sketches in hand, that they were interested simply in achieving a certain degree of harmony between the old and the new. Although we were assisted by very capable translators during the negotiations, many of the words we used--especially technical terms--have no equivalent in Mandarin.

A Final Note
The two approved hotel projects represent a major step forward for both the United States and China. One Chinese official informed our firm that China is pleased and eager to enlist our aid in designing hotels. We in turn are pleased and eager to play a part in the opening up of the Middle Kingdom and the cultivation of economic and human relations between our two nations.

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The Royal Hawaiian

WATG celebrated its 70th anniversary on November 13th at The Royal Hawaiian, WATG's first hospitality project by founder Pete Wimberly in 1945.

As soon as guests stepped into the foyer of the Royal Hawaiian, they could feel the excitement--something special was happening. The tone of the party was established when they were photographed, "red carpet style" as they entered the party to the courtyard. In all, 250 guests joined our celebration.

The program began with a traditional Hawaiian blessing by Kahu Brutus La Benz and a few words by founder Greg Tong, delivered by Chuck Gee, Dean Emiritus of the University of Hawaii's School of Travel Industry Management.

The evening was filled with friends, family, clients, industry colleagues, and local business partners that came together on the hotel's ocean lawn. Executive Chef Colin Hazama, of the Royal Hawaiian, created a wonderful menu for the evening and Taimane Gardner dazzled guests with her amazing ukulele performance. Even a little rain couldn't dampen the celebration as the majority of guests stayed and continued to enjoy everyone's company.

Many "thank you" sentiments to all guests attending, as well as, many existing and new relationships were cultivated that evening. Next steps for Honolulu are to continue the local outreach and strengthen both the business and community ties for another 70 years!

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Greg Tong

As part of our 70th Anniversary celebration, we'll be revisiting past articles and interviews of our founders and past employees of WATG. The following is part 1 of an article written by Greg Tong published in the May 1979 issue of The Cornell H.R.A. Quarterly. Greg shares his experience of being the first Western architect to do work in the People's Republic of China (before diplomatic relations were established). The Huashan and Kweilin hotels were never built.


Among the facilities we recently incorporated into our design plans for a proposed hotel were many conventional amenities: a cocktail lounge, a coffee shop, a swimming pool. But the Huashan Hotel will al so boast such features as an underground air-raid shelter, parking for 400 bicycles, and living quarters for 300 staff members--because it will be constructed in the People's Republic of China, where design must reflect ways of thought and styles of living radically different from our own.

In undertaking the design of two Chinese hotel--Shanghai's Huashan Hotel and a Kweilin resort property, whose more conventional features and construction plans are described below (see image) we had much to learn about the current state of Chinese technology and, more important, about Chinese attitudes. In the following paragraphs I will comment on some of the factors pertinent our design decisions, with an occasional aside on life today in this little-known nation.

Dorms to Disco
Many of the apparent peculiarities included in our design plans for the Huashan Hotel are easy to understand once one knows a little about present-day Chinese culture and how it differs from our own.

In a typical Western hotel, onsite housing is often provided for such upper-level personnel as the general manager, assistant manager, executive chef, and director of housekeeping. In China, quite the reverse is true: on-site housing is provided for unmarried busboys, waitresses, and so forth.

The severe housing shortage in China is one reason so much space has been allocated for staff members' living quarters in the Huashan Hotel. The typical urban family (comprising at a minimum husband, wife, and two children) is generally assigned what we consider a one-bedroom apartment, with the children sleeping in the living room. The chances of a single young adult enjoying the luxury of his own apartment--so common in the United States--are quite slim; most single adults, and many young married couples without children, live with their parents. The individual able to find housing elsewhere relieves some of the congestion in his parents' apartment.

Another factor necessitating a facility for staff housing is the assignment of work hours. Individuals assigned to the early-morning shift must often be on the premises by 4 AM to begin breakfast preparation and similar duties. If the worker lives a considerable distance from the hotel, he has no easy means of getting to the property at that hour: few adults own cars, and public-transportation services generally do not operate so early. Hence, the provision of on-site housing for workers is a matter not of convenience but of necessity.

Because elevators are considered a luxury, the building used by a hotel for staff housing is often only four to five stories high an occupies a fair amount of ground space. By contrast, the hotel itself--with elevators for guest use--might be a 20-story highrise occupying far less ground space. Staff living quarters often take the form of dormitories, with four to 30 persons in a room and communal bathroom facilities (the sexes are segregated either by wing or by floor). In some cases a bed is assigned not to an individual but to a job or shift (e.g., to the early-morning shift, rather than to the individual who works it).

As noted above, the private automobile is a relative rarity in China, and most Chinese citizens use either bicycles or public buses as their means of transport. The popularity of bicycles has been reflected in our plan for extensive bicycle-parking space at the Huashan Hotel. (It is interesting to note that when a bicycle is stolen--a very infrequent occurrence, by Western standards--the rider is given another until his own is recovered.)

The Chinese require that an underground air-raid shelter be a part of every major new building constructed. Such shelters are intended primarily for the wartime use of staff members and area residents (it is assumed there would be few hotel guests under conditions of national emergency). The shelter requirement is a precautionary national policy; it is both possible and desirable to make other use of the shelter space during times of peace. We have suggested that the Huashan Hotel's shelter be used for bowling and disco dancing; it could quickly be converted from these uses back into an air-raid shelter if necessary.

Dining: Dimension and Din
Another unusual aspect of the Huashan Hotel's design is the dining capacity, which is sufficient to serve 100 percent of the hotel's guests at a single seating. The rationale for this impressive capacity embraces both Chinese tradition and practical considerations.

The evening meal has traditionally been the focal point of the Oriental day, a time for the clan to gather and share conversation. To take a meal by oneself, as Westerners often do, would be considered a disrespect to the family. This thinking has made its way into Chinese hotel operations, which generally offer a dining room capable of seating all the hotel's guests simultaneously, supplemented by an unusually large number of function rooms for smaller tour groups and VIP groups.

Moreover, because most hotel guests in China are members of organized tour groups, arriving and departing on a single schedule, hotels usually have no choice but to feed large numbers of guests simultaneously. (Visitors are generally assigned to a specific table in the dining room and are expected to sit at that table for the duration of their stay.) Chinese facilities do not offer the number or variety of specialty restaurants we are accustomed to finding in Western properties.

Despite the often extraordinary capacity of the dining facilities, Chinese hotels are characterized by a much higher ratio of kitchen area to dining space than Western properties are. At present, Chinese hotels are labor-intensive, with two or three times as many staff workers per guest as one would encounter in the United States. Kitchens and associated service areas must therefore be quite large simply to accommodate the worker traffic.

The considerable quantity of work space required is partially accounted for by the nature of Chinese cuisine, which entails a great deal of painstaking preparation--cutting meat and vegetables into small pieces, for example. It is not unusual to find a large number of staff members whose task it is to sculpt vegetables into flower shapes and miniature animal designs--or to find a room full of workers engaged in such pursuits as carving an intricate garden scene into the skin of a melon.

The spacious dining rooms have very high ceilings and are invariably rectangular, with little attempt to achieve a degree of privacy in corners or through the use of room dividers; one can gain a view of everyone in the room simply by stepping through the door. These rooms are not only uninteresting visually: because all surfaces are composed of relatively hard materials, they are also undesirable acoustically (a problem exacerbated by the large number of diners accommodated at any given time). I have observed similar hubbub in the dining rooms of other Asian countries, as well as in some American Chinese restaurants. Although a quieter, more sedate atmosphere is widely considered conducive to good dining in the Western world, the din of Chinese dining rooms seems to have no detrimental effect on diners' appreciation of the meal--in fact, the noise appears to be equated with enjoying oneself.

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On Friday, November 27th, the Singapore office hosted a party at the office to celebrate WATG's 70th anniversary. Clients, industry colleagues and long-time friends of the firm were invited and greeted by WATG staff upon arrival before being ushered up to the office entry. An extensive timeline covering WATG history as a firm, significant projects, current projects and future projects stretched through the entry. As guests made their way into the "main event" area, they found that the usual office space had been transformed into a hip nightclub atmosphere complete with DJ and a gourmet mixologist.

Bangkok based gourmet mixologist and restaurateur Ben-David Sorum, also known as "Bennie," created a unique menu of specialty cocktail for the night inspired by the firm. The Waikiki Coloda for our first office in Honolulu, The Sligapore Fling to celebrate our Singapore office and of course The Four Founders paying homage to the four WATG founders. Bennie also brought his "aloha flair" for the affair and entertained the guests with his smooth bartending moves and charismatic personality.

Local restauranteur Violet Oon catered the event and created a delicious menu of pass tray bites for guest to enjoy. Violet Oon has recently been making a culinary splash in Singapore with the opening of their new restaurant in the newly completed National Gallery.

Dave Moore gave an eloquent speech welcoming guests and describing a bit of the history of the office including an introduction of Pat Lawrence, the original Singapore MD, whom attended the event. Following Dave, Pamelia Lee, former head of the Singapore Tourism Board, gave an informative speech about her time working with Pete Wimberly in an effort to preserve many of the historical areas of Singapore today and their work together in creating a lucrative and successful tourism plan for the country.

The evening was capped off by announcing the winners of the Singapore office's Innovation Challenge. Teams were given a project from the firm's past that they were to use as inspiration to create an installation that celebrates the essence of the project. All of the teams did a superb job and guests were able to see and in some cases interact with the installations during the party. First place was the Palace of the Lost City with their holographic installation celebrating the story telling aspect of the project. Second place was the Pago Pago team with a video installation including original footage of the property in remembrance of the property which will be demolished next year. Third went to the Waikikian team who took inspiration from the localized and authentic design approach and created an interpretation of that type of localized design for Singapore. (more to come on the innovation challenge).

The party was a huge success and gave the office the opportunity to not only celebrate the 70 year of design excellence that the firm has built, but also the current and future work being produced and the creativity of the staff. The office transformation was so successful that some guests even suggested we make this a weekly Friday night event!

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Dean Kawamura

Last Saturday WATG Honolulu once again competed in the annual CANstruction event and again took home the top prize of Juror's Favorite! We humbly ask for your support and vote for Slash by donating a can at our structure at Pearlridge center (one can = one vote). The structure with the most cans will win the "People's Choice" award (to be announced in a few weeks). All cans will be used to feed the hungry.

Slash HungerThe theme for the 10th Annual CANstruction Competition was "Rock CAN Roll," and the WATG integrated services team (architecture, interiors, landscape) built a structure depicting the guitarist Slash from the rock band Guns N Roses using approximately 2,500 cans.

Since the competition began in Honolulu in 2006, CANstruction has raised over 306,656 pounds of canned food for the Hawaii Foodbank, enough for nearly 250,000 meals.

Many thanks to team captains Noe Pegarido and Jon Guerechit, the CANstruction build team, and our generous sponsors, Hormel, Bays Lung Rose and Holma, and The Chong Group LLC for their generous contributions. And special thanks to Matthew Kubota for helping with the concept, developing the model, and for running the CA (CANstruction Administration).

You're in the jungle baby...Let's Rock Can Roll!

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Michael Chang

The results are in!

Out of eight award categories at the 2015 CANstruction Orange County Awards Gala, Team WATG Irvine and R.D. Olson  came away with three awards! The "Lending a Helping Hand... One Can at a Time" Baymax structure was honored with the Structural Ingenuity,  Most Cans, and the coveted People's Choice Award.

On behalf of the entire CANstruction team, we would like to thank all of our contributors, sponsors, and colleagues for their donation, time, and effort to make this year's CANstruction entry a successful one! Together, we have donated 11,650 cans and raised over $18,000 for the Orange Country Food Bank! Thank you!

Complete results below:

HONORABLE MENTION – Gregg Maedo + Associates: “The Force Awakens to Fight Hunger” (Total Cans: 3,369)

HONORABLE MENTION – KTGY: “Being the ‘FORCE’ Against Hunger” (4,560)

MOST CANS – WATG & R.D. Olson: "Lending a Helping Hand…One Can at a Time" (Total Cans: 11,650)

BEST MEAL – McCarthy Building Companies: "Food for Friends" (Total Cans: 7,410)

STRUCTURAL INGENUITY – WATG & R.D. Olson: "Lending a Helping Hand…One Can at a Time"

BEST USE OF LABELS – Disneyland Resorts | Design & Engineering: "If Elephants Can Fly, We CAN End Hunger!" (Total Cans: 4,200)

JURY'S FAVORITE –Fluor Enterprises: "California Dreamin' of an End to World Hunger" (Total Cans: 4,285)

PEOPLE'S CHOICE – WATG & R.D. Olson: "Lending a Helping Hand…One Can at a Time" (8,058 votes)

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Jerry Allison

The following is part 2 of an opinion piece written by Jerry Allison published in the July 1988 issue of Restaurant Hotel Design International. Click here for part 1.


The business of pleasure travel is the business of creativity, creating special places in special places--to translate every man's dreams into reality. Call it the Pleasure Principle, if you like. But never lose sight of this very real fact: In this business, pleasure is paramount. Believe it--there is a correlation between the degree of success we achieve in pleasing people and the color of the bottom line.

This business we're engaged in has a very valid raison d'etre. It is not simply a modern version of Louis XIV opulence. For all the super rich who can afford to spend their lives doing nothing but trekking from one resort to another, there are thousands of ordinary people who work diligently on a year-round basis, subjected to highly stressed lifestyles. They need and are wiling to pay for the rejuvenation that comes from a complete change of pace--pleasure in a special place.

This is our major market segment, our growth potential.

What does it take, in a hotel, to richly reward our travel expectations? What is required to keep it out of the cookie cutter class and assure its role as a destination of distinction?

Keeping in mind that the primary function or service provided is pleasure--although the hotel is eminently practical--attractiveness and the ambience of the physical structure are vital to its economic success. Every hotel needs thoughtful, imaginative design. Resort hotels, which exist solely for the pleasure of their users, demand it.

But it is not simply a matter of serving up a physically beautiful hotel. We recreational travelers seeking new experiences in exotic places are looking for far more than that. We want to observe and to experience that which makes our destinations different from the places we have left. Universally, we seek that special place in a special place. That is what drives us to other parts of our own countries and to other parts of the world. We seek other cultures, other lifestyles, and the uniqueness of the region we visit.

Toward fulfilling these goals, the hotel design can be a key element. Generally, the first unhurried introduction to a new region is the hotel in which we are to stay. It becomes our temporary home base. The place where we may eat, sleep, exercise, socialize, shop, listen to music, look at art, or simply "hang out" as the younger generation would say. It should be very much a part of our escape objective, not simply where we sleep and change clothes. It is also at our hotel that we may have the closest relationship with natives of the host locale. This offers an opportunity for good social interchange between guest and host. The hotel provides a captive audience eager to learn.

From the developer's and operator's points of view, design appropriate to the region will quite likely result in cost savings as the facilities will be easier to construct and maintain. The design will often make use of readily available materials and technology appropriate to local construction techniques. Proper design may even eliminate the need for elevators, air conditioning and other high maintenance building elements.

Designing with this kind of approach should lead to a degree of guest satisfaction that results in solid demand, excellent occupancy rates, enviable room charges, and long stays.

Successfully meeting these goals is not a project confined to design of buildings. It is, rather, a highly complex matter encompassing the whole project continuum from master planning, design, approvals, and financing right through construction to maintenance, management, and even marketing, and in some cases periodic additions.

Meeting the challenge requires a lot of understanding-understanding by management of the challenges inherent in creating a design that fits the locality and cultural mores, and understanding by the design team of management's problems in providing services to guests and of maintaining the property in top condition. At times, it is difficult for clients, particularly in developing countries, to understand that locally inspired designs and native materials in new buildings can be as marketable as ancient temples.

To summarize this relationship between special places and success in the pleasure travel arena: In the long run, the hotel providing the strongest possible sense of place will become the most desirable. The pleasure traveler seeks novel experiences, not a rerun of "Chicago." If the hotel patronized provides all the amenities required, while reinforcing the sense of being in an exotic location, the satisfaction quotient should be high--and this means the traveler will stay longer, return sooner, and pay more for the experience.

As part of our 70th Anniversary celebration, we'll be revisiting past articles and interviews of our founders and past employees of WATG.

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Ashley Fauguel

Recently we were approached by British Airways to help promote their 'On Business' programme. We fly continuously throughout the year to expand our global business and reach new destinations and as a regular user of British Airways for our business travel needs they wanted to share our story.


The video shows a fly-through of the London office and a short interview with our CEO, Mike Seyle. This will be featured on BA's in-flight entertainment and social media channels.

Keep an eye out for us on your travels!

Michael Chang

The Baymax build...One can at a time.

We humbly ask for your support to help fight hunger. Please click here to make a donation. Each dollar equals one vote for the "People's Choice Award" and all collected money will be donated to Orange County's CANstruction. You can donate as much as you please and the team with the most money collected will win the award.  Please click here for donations.

CANstruction is an international community service project by the design & construction industry. This philanthropy benefits local food banks where teams of architects, engineers, and designers compete by designing and building structures made entirely of canned food items.

At the conclusion of CANstruction OC on September 27th, all canned food Items will be given to the Orange County Food Bank.

The Orange County Food Bank is a program of the Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAPOC), a private non-profit social service organization. CAPOC's tax exempt number is 95-2452787.  All donations to the Food Bank are tax deductible to the extent permissible by law.

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