One of the most rewarding parts of Kalu Yala is meeting all the people involved, whether they are within the company itself or specialists called in. The business team and I had the pleasure of meeting George Moreno, one of the leading architects in Panama, and even Central America. At first, it was fairly intimidating going to George’s office to talk about the architectural programming the business team had been working on, especially since none of us had any experience in planning a building before.
But for all of our trepidation, we were pleasantly surprised to find George and his group of talented architects to be very down-to-earth. In my mind, I was expecting a long business meeting where I would simply sit back and listen to all the people who knew way more than me talk for a few hours and come up with a plan of attack for a final building design. Instead, we began our “work day” with colored pencils, clear paper, and architectural plans, drawing out how we thought each of our buildings ought to be. It felt like a grown-up version of art class in primary school, and everyone was having fun creating and designing.
George’s team guided us through the process of planning the inside of the building, and we spent the day bringing new ideas to the table and making our building better. To my astonishment, George actually encouraged us, saying that the architectural space planning we came up with was one of the more in-depth and accurate ones he had seen. He told us that most people don’t do that much work with it and just expect him to come up with the uses of space within the building. We were pretty proud of our work after that meeting.
Now, after a few more meetings with George and his crew, we have 3d imaging of our building design in AutoCAD, official architectural schematics, and an amazing new view of Kalu Yala’s future. Meeting the architects has been one of the most rewarding professional experiences I have had, at Kalu Yala or anywhere else.