The Resort at Pelican Hill™

December 2008

Editor’s Note: AWCI received more nominations than ever before for its 2009 Excellence in Construction Quality Award program, but there can be only one winner. Until the winner is officially announced during AWCI’s 2009 annual convention next March and in this magazine’s May 2009 Industry Awards Issue, we will tell you about some of the outstanding runners-up in the months to come.

The article that follows was submitted by Heather Cardamone and Mark Engquist of Raymond Interior Systems, Orange, Calif.

The request to participate in building a six star hotel resort perched on 504 acres of exquisite land on California’s Newport Coast and based on Roman architecture was presented to The Raymond Group, Orange, Calif., in November 2005 by representatives of the owner, The Irvine Company, and the contractor, Snyder-Langston. Using a villa concept, the Irvine Group, based in Southern California, designed the hotel to border the pristine, world class Pelican Hill Golf Course. The golf course is a rival to Pebble Beach. As it winds through the foothills overlooking the Southern California coast, this location is the perfect canvas for the architectural style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.

The Resort at Pelican Hill is comprised of 128 villas, three pools, a hotel "core,” five restaurants/cafes, 204 bungalows, spas and relaxation areas. Raymond was contracted to work on the pool restaurant and core/spa components of the project. The work covered more than 125,000 square feet of floor space.

Raymond’s scope included the following:

 Structural light gauge roof trusses and exterior framing.

 Exterior sheathing.

 Exterior Italian lime plaster finishes.

 Interior framing and drywall.

 Acoustic plaster.

 Interior Venetian plaster.

 Interior and exterior architectural cast moldings, pilasters and columns.

Challenges of the Project
Andrea Palladio worked to recreate the style and proportions of ancient Rome’s architectural orders. Palladian Style was popularized in 18th century England and used in the design of the Pelican Hill Resort. The Palladian style required attention to the proportional relationship to all components of the building. Design meetings abounded, and many sketches and determinations had to be logged and tracked.

Integrating the mechanical linear flow bars, wall ratings, structure for chandeliers, and offsets for acoustic plaster in the barrel vaulted, domed and coffered ceilings required four months of engineering effort and another two months of drafting.

The project has extensive use of cast architectural elements. There is more than a mile and a half of exterior perimeter roof cornice with an integral rain gutter hidden from view.

Acoustic plaster ceilings were shaped as barrels, ellipses and domes. The rigid BASWAphon acoustic panels required extensive product development to work in the compound radius conditions.

The light gauge steel roof truss system used in both the pool restaurant and core/spa has a very difficult configuration. There are many hip, gable ends and equipment cover mansards that required three design engineers to collaborate to meet the schedule. There were many changes in the designs caused by ongoing MEP development.

Unique Quality Challenges
Raymond’s Palladian mandate was to maintain 1/8” and 1/4” detailing from the cornice to the connection at the stone base molding. Raymond was required to tape and finish all cast joints, interior and exterior, then to plaster over the highly detailed cast parts with a lime-based finish.

Slaked lime plaster is very sensitive to atmospheric conditions and will change color depending on the time of day. Raymond’s crews’ expertise enabled them to maintain consistency in plaster finishes throughout the project.

Construction Duration of 19 Months
In 19 months and in 185,000 man-hours, Raymond installed scope ranging from the light gauge metal roof truss system to the last trowel strokes of interior Venetian plaster. More than 100,000 square feet of roof truss system, one and a half lineal miles of exterior wall, more than 140,000 square feet of exterior sheathing, 700,000 square feet of interior drywall, three-plus miles of linear cast product, 75 GFRC columns and 20,000 square feet of Venetian plaster blended together and accurately placed on the job site.

Vision of a Six Star Palladian Style Resort Realized
The grand scale of the Pelican Hill Hotel and Resort is a builder’s dream. The complexity of integrating modern materials and achieving the vision of an elaborate Italian Villa, nestled in the hills, surrounded by olive trees, was daunting at the beginning.

The Irvine Company’s vision was brought to life through a great effort from the project team. Through adherence to Palladian’s style, a building was constructed that is amazingly at peace. On a clear day, the island of Catalina can be seen from every vantage point of the hotel.

The expansive Pelican Hill Resort Hotel & Spa was built, piece by exquisite piece.