Shinrin Yoku, LLC, the development company headed by Phillip Rapoport and Kristin Soong Rapoport, has released its first public renderings of structures planned for the Heartwood eco-resort in Gardiner. Set on a 141-acre site that was formerly home to a tree farm, located on the north bank of the Shawangunk Kill in the Tuthilltown hamlet, Heartwood will include 70 cabins, a main building with spa and restaurant and an event space.
One of the renderings depicts the entryway to the main building complex, to be constructed in the center of the lot, set back from both the stream and Route 44/55. The design is geometrically spare and simple, the single-story building modules capped by triangular roofs that recapitulate the visual rhythms of the Shawangunk Ridge in the background. The foreground shows a native wildflower meadow surrounding wooden steps leading up to the roofed outdoor space that the principals are calling the atrium. Trees grow through the floor of the central patio, where a stone chimney appears to float in midair above a firepit, so as not to block the cliff viewscape. The airy design, incorporating what were promised during the application process to be primarily natural materials, suggests East Asian influences; indeed, shinrin yoku is the Japanese phrase meaning “forest bathing,” a popular trend of seeking physical and psychic harmony through meditative relaxation in the outdoors.
“Guests will arrive to Heartwood at the vaulted atrium space that frames the beautiful view of the Shawangunk Ridge. This rendering was created from a photo we took at the actual future location of the atrium. The space was designed to provide an indoor/outdoor experience that carries over into the central amenity buildings and the cabins, where large windows provide views of the Ridge and the field and forest around you,” Kristin Soong Rapoport explains. “The lobby, pools and spa are to the left of the atrium, while the restaurant and event programming space are to the right.” The restaurant, which will be open to day visitors as well as overnight guests — “a gathering place for neighbors and friends” — will feature “a seasonal menu from locally grown and foraged food, complemented with whiskey from Tuthilltown Distillery and baked goods from our favorite local bakeries.”
The second rendering depicts the interior of one of the higher-end double cabins, dominated by a cliff view at the far end. This type of accommodation will be sited close to the central building complex, while the more rustic “forest cabins” will be strung along the high bluff overlooking the Shawangunk Kill, surrounded by native trees and connected by mulched paths. “Hotel guests will have a choice of different cabin types at different price points, ranging from smaller forest cabins to luxurious field cabin suites with views of the Ridge,” Rapoport continues. “All cabins are fully conditioned for year-round use with en suite baths, private verandas, luxury bedding and a sophisticated and relaxed décor.”
While the development timeline may still be impacted by the current lawsuit filed by the citizens’ group Friends of Gardiner challenging the Planning Board’s approval of the Heartwood project, the Rapoports are moving forward with the intent of breaking ground during the 2019 building season. “We have been working with local engineers and consultants. We are preparing for construction later this year and have been in awe of the artists, practitioners and purveyors reaching out to collaborate with us,” says Kristin Soong Rapoport. “It’s terrible as a Gardiner taxpayer to see a small group of people forcing the Town to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend a decision it made based on careful review and overwhelming support for the project.”