A Search For Design Appropriateness Using Qualitative Techniques To Contrast The Mountain Resort Community Cores Of Vail Village And Beaver Creek Village
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This study uses in-depth interviews to compare the mountain resort village cores of Vail Village and Beaver Creek Village to determine levels of design appropriateness in each. Design appropriateness for a village core is defined as an outdoor, multi-chambered, visually stimulating environment that encourages and invites human activity and repeat visits to the village core and ski resort (Dorward 1990.) An appropriately designed village core "encourages visitors to wander, explore the special places and unique features of the village, people-watch, and interact amiably with strangers in a diverse mix of gathering places and open-air seating" (Dorward 2006, p.273.) Design appropriateness in this thesis is measured by visual inventory, review of community design regulations and design professionals perceptions of five design principles applied by landscape architect Eldon Beck. The five design principles examined in this study are:* Pedestrian system as the core community structure * Site orientation for views* Site orientation for sun exposure and wind protection * Scale * Diversity (Clifford 2003), (Dorward, 2006)Becks application of these design principles has resulted in village cores at top rated mountain resorts in North America (Ski's 2010-2011 Resort Guide Top Ten 2010, Top Ten Worlds Best Ski Resorts 2010.) The village councils and resort planning managers of the mountain resort village cores which Beck has designed continue to consult with him regarding community design regulations and resort expansion. One such mountain resort is Whistler, British Columbia. Ainsworth quotes Mike Kirkegaard, manager of resort planning at Whistler, as saying, "He (Beck) laid out our village so that there is a sense of discovery around every corner. He made sure things were oriented to capture views of the mountains and allowed sunlight to penetrate our public places. We continue to use him as our guide as we are evolving the village" (2010.) The hypothesis for this study is that Vail Village demonstrates a more appropriate overall design for mountain resort village cores than does Beaver Creek Village because Beck's application of five design principles stimulates activities that reflect appropriateness according to Dorward (1990.) This study uses in-depth interviewing as described by Taylor and Bogden (1984.) The key informants (interviewees) are design professionals, policy makers and design critics familiar with Vail Village and Beaver Creek Village. They are interviewed as professionals involved with the built environment. They understand how mountain resort cores function. They have experienced these village core developments from a user's perspective and from their professional experience they possess the critical knowledge of the five principles of design that Beck applies to mountain village cores. This research concludes with a summary of findings that provide landscape architects with a tool for assessing appropriateness in a mountain resort village core. This summary also provides insight into additional design principles used in mountain resort design and differences in opinions from design professionals regarding the meaning of appropriate mountain resort design.