I was approached to design a lodge for someone in the Serengeti. I went to the site, and while there, the client phoned me, and asked what I thought. I replied that the site was too small, and he said, so find me another one.
So I walked, with two Askari's with AK-47s, as the rest of the entourage followed me in two game-viewing vehicles. I knew what I was looking for: height, more intense vegetation, and rocks– those kopjes that the Serengeti is so famous for. After many hours of walking I found it. I came over a rise, saw a massive rock face, and walked into a natural amphitheatre, and thought, this is going to be my entrance. And that was that. We built it, and the buildings just fitted. It was a set of buildings that as I walked onto the site, resonated with me, and conceptually that didn't change from the first minute that I walked onto the site.
The buildings do not consist of straight lines, because it's big, and I didn't want to have long, straight passages like a hospital. So by curving the building, it unfolds as you experience it.
The green philosophies that we applied in recyling water eventually became the major draw card. Bilila has become an icon for the Four Seasons group, as you are literally guaranteed to see animals at the waterhole, which uses recycled water that has passed the elephant test