By Alan Markoff
Imagine being on a rooftop terrace more than 140 feet above sea level in Camana Bay. A panoramic view of the Seven Mile Beach corridor provides the backdrop for a landscaped oasis infused with the vibrant colours of tropical flora. As a refreshing breeze blows over your skin, you peer out in different directions and see the North Sound on one side and Seven Mile Beach on another side, and you understand what “sea-to-sound views” really means.
Those who are lucky enough to become tenants of 60 Nexus Way, the 10-storey Class A office building currently under construction in Camana Bay, won’t have to imagine that scene; they’ll be able to experience it themselves.
The elements of architectural and landscape design of 60 Nexus Way’s rooftop terrace were decided upon with the user’s experience in mind. For example, considerations about the height of the parapet along the edge of the roof looked at several factors, said Dart BIM Senior Technician Daniel Nguyen.
“We had to carefully balance that calculation,” he said. “We didn’t want to make it so high that it took away from the view, but we wanted it high enough that it blocked some of the wind at that elevation.”
Part of the parapet will be constructed with the Poma Infinity Rail system that uses high-strength, impact-resistant safety glass that will allow unobstructed views even if a person is sitting down.
When completed, the rooftop terrace will have a maximum capacity of 200 people, allowing tenants of the building to host a variety of events, as well as activities like sunrise yoga sessions.
Another key feature of the rooftop terrace will be the plantings framing and accenting in the space.
Just as with the height of the parapets, a balance had to be struck in planning which plants could be used on the roof, said Dart Senior Design Manager ‑ Landscape Architecture Nicholas Forari Denney.
“A delicate balance between colourful and tropical plantings for maximised user enjoyment had to be weighed against the rooftop conditions, growing media and Cayman climate,” he said.
Forari Denney said when selecting the plants for the area, consideration has to be made for the fact that Cayman has a dry season from November through May when it doesn’t rain as much.
“We also have to consider the desiccation caused by the winds at that elevation, so we have to use plants that are robust and fairly drought resistant,” he said, adding that plants capable of growing in full-sun conditions were a major consideration during the selection process.
The plant beds themselves will use a proprietary hybrid soil that emulates Cayman’s sandy soil and encourages root growth to help keep the plants anchored.
Forari Denney said that species of grasses found near the ocean will be used, as will colourful flowering vines like bougainvillea.
The design concept is for the landscaping to help frame the views from the rooftop of 60 Nexus Way, Forari Denney said.
“The views are going to be incredible,” he said. “It’s one of the most beautiful aspects of this project.”
The landscaping won’t be the only green feature on the rooftop terrace.
As is the case with most every other building in Camana Bay, an array of solar panels will be installed toward the southern end of 60 Nexus Way.
“It will be able to generate up to 250 kilowatts of power, which is the maximum allowed,” said Dart Senior Design Manager James Lunn. “We’re also investigating the possibility of having four small wind turbines on the roof.”
In addition, Lunn said the floor of the roof will be gently sloped to allow rainwater to flow into the landscaping beds, reducing the need to supply water through the irrigation system.
This article originally appeared in the June 2021 print edition of Camana Bay Times.
About the author
Alan Markoff has worked with Dart as the editor for Camana Bay Times for four years and has been writing professionally since 1997. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a degree in English, and first moved to the Cayman Islands in 1982. He has 17 years of experience in the real estate industry and previously worked as a journalist for the Cayman Compass before joining Dart to relaunch the Camana Bay Times monthly newspaper. Alan is passionate about food and wine and he loves to write about both those subjects. He is also the leader of Grand Cayman’s Slow Food Chapter.