Bernard Judge describes his youth in Tahiti, his return to design a hotel, and how he became involved in Marlon Brando’s development of Tetiaroa atoll, 45 miles further north. He describes the difficulties in dealing with a site so remote and uninhabited for decades. Judge explains his research into soil density and fresh water availability, which was a precondition to any discussion of construction or program. He resolved to design the buildings and specify materials in a way that minimized importing anything to the atoll.
Judge discusses the challenge of adding an airstrop to Tetiaroa atoll. He describes the biodiversity of the area, and outlines his scheme for developing a coconut crab farm in the lagoon rather than tourism. Judge details the struggle to locate the water table as well as some difficulties in surveying the atoll and creating a comprehensive map. He describes the process of planning for aquaculture at the atoll.
Judge explains his strategies to reduce both material and energy use in his development of Tetiaroa atoll. He discusses the necessity, in French Polynesia, of treating materials to fend off insects. Judge describes the collaboration with students from various universities who came to the atoll to help with the project and lived on site in dwellings that they constructed for themselves. Judge discusses the contributions of scientists and archeologists who researched the site.