Connor Yocum





Iowa State University

Professors Thomas Leslie, AIA + Lee Cagley, Chair, Interior Design


Partner Catie McClurg (Interior Design)

First Place in annual CSI Prize jury competition


In contrast to the typical high-rise typology happening in downtown Panama City, our site along the canal, with the potential for regeneration of rainforest, follows an adjusted set of rules. The top of a building is no longer the best spot when the canopy of the rainforest is added to the equation. Instead, a hotel wants to tuck into the rainforest, engaging with nature as the hotel rises through the various strata of the forest. In order to preserve as much of the site to be re-forested as possible, an emergent layer of the building pops up above the canopy offering the downtown views (and acknowledging the validity of the typical typological hierarchy). In this site, the vertical space just under the canopy is the most valuable space, where a floor of double-height, lofted hotel rooms offer the opportunity to interact with the nature via their balconies. Other floors are closed off from the wildlife. Just above the lofted rooms, at the break between the two masses, is a public observation deck allowing all guests the opportunity for a physical connection to the rainforest activity regardless of room level. In order to get the guest rooms as close to nature as possible, the long-span program of the project (convention center and other non-hotel program including parking) is separated as a secondary mass connected by a conditioned passage through the forest.