Case Study: Finding Reliable Solutions for a Luxury Resort Design
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Case Study: Finding Reliable Solutions for a Luxury Resort Design


Designers with international architectural firm HKS needed to maintain visual brand requirements and ensure long-lasting durability for the construction of the new Gaylord Resort in the Denver, Colorado area. 

About the Project: Translating a Tradition

Designers at HKS were hired by Marriott to build their latest luxury Gaylord resort in Colorado. “The vision for the Gaylord project was to be indigenous to the Denver, Colorado region, with a view of the mountains,” explains Cliff Horsak, Senior Vice President at HKS

Inspired by the traditional architecture of mountain chalets, the team at HKS wanted to help Marriott create their own version of a Colorado ski lodge. The space needed to exude comfort, but it would also need to echo the dramatic background of the Rocky Mountain landscape. 

“The set and orientation of the building and entryway mattered in this project, and we wanted the architecture to respond to where it is,” said Horsak. 

Meeting Client Standards (and Deadlines)

There are challenges with any hospitality building project, and construction for the Gaylord was fast-tracked, which put additional pressure on the team at HKS. Designers also needed to meet the building’s visual requirements, and since Gaylord is owned by Marriott, there were a few different brand standards to which the design needed to adhere. 

The resort’s architecture also needed to be able to withstand the wear and tear that comes with hospitality design. In the cold weather of the Rocky Mountains, commercial building requirements include stricter standards for snow loads and wind safety.  


Solutions for Reliable Hotel Construction

Because he had worked with Nichiha products before, Cliff Horsak with HKS knew that the Gaylord project would be enhanced by the fiber-cement architectural wall panels. “I’ve been familiar with the product for a long time,” says Horsak. “It’s the timeless quality of the product that I like.” 

The team at HKS worked directly with Nichiha specialists before the project launched to get an idea of the solutions that were needed. “We did an extensive mockup testing to look at the details and how the product would be installed,” explains Horsak. 

The design process that the HKS team used was Nichiha’s Technical Design Review offering, which is a free review with our team of engineers and architects to help ensure system and building code compliance while still preserving design intent. The design-assist performed by our A&E team will reduce your number of design hours and the review process will optimize panel layout to reduce waste and eliminate change orders. 

Overall, for the HKS team, it helped the client and installation contractors commit to the project and materials used before construction ever started. 


Horsak specified Nichiha’s VintageWood architectural wall panels in Cedar for the Gaylord’s exterior, which met the building code standards for the region.  

“The pre-engineering of Nichiha panels satisfied all of my requirements, due to the building height and elevation needs,” he explained. Nichiha panels are tested to the highest building standards for durability, so code compliance for snow and wind loads were met.


Translating Tradition

Working with Nichiha helped to make the Gaylord project a success, and the resort is an impressive visual for travelers coming into the Denver International airport, just a few miles away.

“We were able to translate the indigenous look and tradition of lodge architecture into a cutting edge project with the Gaylord,” explains Horsak. The warmth of Nichiha’s VintageWood panels and the stone details around the base of the design are a nod to the natural beauty of the resort’s surroundings. 

Nichiha’s panel design and extensive selection of styles helped to elevate the resort’s finished look. “It’s a very European look,” says Horsak. 

He is also grateful for the wide variety of standard color finishes available from Nichiha. “The wide range of standard color selections with Nichiha is helpful because budget restrictions often keep us from using custom colors and designs.”

And because Nichiha panels are tested for high-performance and durability, Horsak knows that the resort’s design is going to last for decades, which was important to both him and Marriott, who doesn’t want to have to replace their cladding every few years. 

Help Is On The Way

Looking for design or pricing assistance? Nichiha representatives are on-hand to answer your questions, ensure your detailing is technically sound and that your project meets all product and design requirements.

Design That Needs to Shine


Hospitality design is successful when it can accommodate all stakeholders, like the architect, guests and facility manager, in a project. When designers work with a product like Nichiha, they know they’re getting a long-lasting and trusted material that’s been specified in commercial building projects all over the world. 

See how our products can help enhance your next design. Check out our gallery here.


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