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Brando Architect Reveals Green Side Of Actor's Island Retreat

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tetiroa brando

It’s no secret that the late great Marlon Brando was ahead of his time when it came to renewable energy. The actor, who passed away in 2004, intended for the twelve island atoll he owned in Tahiti (called Tetiaroa) to be “part environmental laboratory, part resort.”

Unfortunately, those dreams were never fully realized before his death — but considerably time was paid to coming up with designs and ideas for the resort. One of the men involved was architect Harry Gesner — and he recently opened up to Architecture Design magazine about Brando’s eccentric desires, as well as his ecological visions. From the article,

“Brando had some odd requests. He explains, ‘Brando wanted to have-foot sharks and moral eels swimming through the tank.’ Gesner, who was also hired to help Brando re-model his Beverly Hills home, was impressed with the actor’s conservation and environmental ideas: ‘Brando was very into ecology. We talked a long time about how to incorporate elements like indigenous materials, solar voltaic cells, windmills and so on.'”

A new resort is currently being built on Tetiaroa with expectations that it could open sometime this year. In an article written in 2005, developer Dick Bailey said he plans to honor Brando’s green wishes. The reef will remain intact, solar panels will produce power, a high-tech “micro-treatment” plant will handle sewage, and desalination technology will provide drinking water. All very expensive, but, says Bailey, all “in keeping with Marlon’s vision.”

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