Just to be straight forward, I'm not saying that Langstroth are a superior hive, but what Langstroth has for it is that it is the "standard", which can not be easily discounted. It allows for the vertical movement that bees need, but one could argue they are too wide. You can easily get woodenware and easily get resources (brood, etc.) from fellow beekeepers when in a real bind. Also there is a wealth of beekeepers with knowledge of Langstroth.
Secondly I have no issues with Corwin, in fact, I have a podcast on my website that I did with him in 09. I total respect his approach to beekeeping, even though I don't necessarily agree with him on all his methods. He tends to try to commercialize at a higher level than I, but that is his choice and let the market bear what it will.
I will give my thoughts on the "super Highway" for wintering. Not clear what the size of the hole is, but it is clear that the cluster can not pass through the "super highway" without breaking apart. 3/4" pine gives you about a 8-15F delta above ambient (double deep Langstroth). So best case, if your ambient temp drops below 25F, the bees will be clustered and have a very difficult time passing through the "super highway". Even if they do, what do they do? do they start at the top of the frame and eat downwards (unnatural)? or do they just continue along the "super highway" eating off the tops of all the frames? Either way, they are progressing to cold honey, which can be equated to providing cold syrup, and we all know how well they take that.
As far as Lazutin, I also think he brings a lot to the table for discussion. I don't like the way he has to manipulate them to one side for winter or his super long entrance. I do like his use of super deep frames though, he is giving them the vertical space they need. I like his concepts, but believe there is an easier, less intrusive manner to achieve the same thing.
With new beekeepers, we have struggled for years with folks wanting to get involved but wanting to try some hive that was "over sold" on the internet or in books. We have seen too many of these folks get into issues, have no one to support them and eventually drop out after loosing bees and money over a couple of years. We have started a new program where we bring them into a training apiary every two weeks for the entire season. They get first hand exposure/handling bees BEFORE getting their own bees. Too many new beekeepers first experience is when a package arrives and they need to get them into a hive. We teach them what to look for during inspections, how to handle bees, how to treat, etc. We also teach them how to make nucs and each new beekeeper takes home two double hive poly nucs that they made and cared for over the season ready for their first winter at home.
Not sure about your area, but we are constantly fighting people bringing in package bees from the South and diluting the low progeny bees we are trying to keep in our environment. With providing new beekeepers with the first hand training/experience and good quality low progeny bees, we are giving them the best start for success.
As far as top bar hives, I would highly suggest Warre hives first followed by Layens/Lazutin. I would discourage folks from Kenyan style TBH.
Just my 2 cents from my experience.
Bees are survivors, but there is a difference between surviving and thriving.......