Bonds Cay is an uninhabited island in the Bahamas with lush vegetation and long stretches of beach and ironshore coastline. The firms GRAFT, GT gardiner&Theobald, field operations, Buro Happold and ATM were commissioned to create a masterplan guided by the principles of nature and the potential of the island.
To ensure the design would fully respect the natural environment, several field trips were undertaken to study weather conditions, identify buildable areas and understand the rich ecology of the island. The east of the 600-acre island of Bonds Cay is exposed to the ocean while the Great Bahama Bank extends to the west for about 25 miles. The value of the island’s wildlife is a product of the diverse mosaic of ecologies. The ambitious masterplan had to comply with rigorous, sustainable guidelines and attempts to bring people to the island to enjoy its diverse beauty without negatively impacting on it.
The building plan, therefore, excludes all areas susceptible to erosion or storm surge flooding and of high ecological value and focuses on a zone of development that would have least impact on the island. The center of the island is a nature reserve with no villas and only a spa and water sports center on the central lagoon. Concentrating buildings within the development zone as much as privacy allows, retains as many unbroken ecologies on the island as possible. By lifting the buildings off the ground where possible, the physical footprint of the development is reduced. The masterplan foresees areas where ecologies could be enriched beyond what they are today with the aim of achieving a net-zero loss of ecology.
North Island Village
A further aim of the Bonds Cay development is to positively impact the socioeconomic situation of the Berry Islands and the Bahamas as a whole. The village serves as a centrepiece, encouraging a diverse mix of residents, hotel guests, island staff and artists in residence. Strategically sited in the most sheltered part of the island, it wraps around a lagoon marina and comprises four principle public areas: a community centre, an elevated plaza, a market place and a village beach. The integrated approach to the island infrastructure and back of house programme means the village will be a functional combination of residential, commercial, civil and infrastructural buildings.
The Boutique Hotel
Guests arrive at the hotel by sea plane where there is a single restaurant and bar on the beach at the southern peninsula of the island. An elevated boardwalk leads through a mangrove full of wildlife to the reception area and onto one of 30 individual suites nestled into the foliage, each with its own sunset view, sea access and pool. Each area and suite has a different character to create as rich a variety of experiences as possible. The hotel should give people access to the natural beauty of the area in the least invasive way.
Pathways lead guests and residents though every area of interest on the island, including an observatory, art gallery and institute for sustainability. The masterplan for Bonds Cay is a fusion of nature, art and science.
llustration Credit: James Corner Field Operations