Architecture

Back to Nature: Amanera Villas in the Dominican Republic

Jackie Cooperman

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Architect John Heah’s new Amanera Villas in the Dominican Republic.

Architect John Heah’s new Amanera Villas in the Dominican Republic are, quite literally, a force of nature. “Outdoor areas and the views were one of, if not the, most important factor inspiring the design team,” says Heah, whose London-based company has created a luxury refuge on Playa Grande, informed by the natural beauty of the surroundings. “The expansive openings and the disappearing roof lines lend themselves to an architecture that blends in with the background, while also offering a sense of protection.”

Sharing property and amenities with the Amanera hotel that opened late last year on a gorgeous swath of Playa Grande beach, the Amanera Villas are designed to be completely independent. Of the 35 villas planned for sale, the first seven to come to market are called Founder Villas. Closest to the hotel, they range from 6,500 to 10,000 square feet, sit on about 1.7 acres and have sweeping views of the ocean and golf course. Six two-bedroom “casitas”—each with biodiverse flat roofs that cultivate green gardens—are integrated into the hotel grounds, but the rest are built only when purchased, allowing Heah to work with clients and customize their villas, priced from $4 to upwards of $10 million.

The project is an object lesson in chic, sustainable coastal design. “Our commitment to re-introduce certain endangered native plant species to the property meant that we had to create our own on-site nursery,” Heah says, calling the process “arduous” but very much worth the travails.

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“It’s important that we respect the environment and the local culture. The cleaner lines allow nature’s elements to permeate the space as well as providing vistas to the ocean,” says Heah, who has also designed the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan in Ubud.

As much as possible, Heah and his team built with local materials, sourcing handmade Aguayo tiles produced in nearby Puerto Plata, as well as natural Coralina stones from Dominican Republic quarries and Dominican decorative art and artifacts.

“Our objective was to create a tropical haven that opens up to the ocean. The grand wraparound windows create a sense of space,” says Heah, who designed the villas’ second floors to appear dramatically suspended over the ocean, and, in an ultimate nod to the project’s inspiration, “blend in with the landscape and become part of nature.”

Photo courtesy of Dolphin Capital.