Sited on the edge of the Sahara Desert and close to the Ubari Lakes, this eco resort is conceived as a man-made wadi, the local term for a valley or dry riverbed.
This sunken desert oasis provides hotel accommodation and associated activities organised around sunken, shaded courtyards, which act as communal areas and provide access to the hotel rooms. The rooms either offer views of the valley or across the rolling sand dunes, where the hotel accommodation projects above the wadi edge. The valley creates a primary route from the nearby town into the desert, acting as a gateway to the popular lakes and exploring the dunes.
The rammed earth structure provides high thermal mass, which assists with cooling the building during the day and heating it during the cold overnight temperatures. The plans have been laid out to enhance natural cross ventilation and extensive shading to facades and rooftops is proposed to protect the building fabric and external spaces from direct sunlight. Materials are locally sourced and construction technologies used are common to that region aiming at reducing the buildings ecological footprint, sustaining local employment and ensuring local skills are nurtured and passed on.
Each cluster of accommodation is accessed via a protected courtyard, inspired by traditional medina typologies with communal uses at ground floor and private accommodation on the upper levels. The resort will comprise a variety of accommodation to provide for a wider range of cultural tourists with different budgets and expectations. Types of accommodation will vary from split-level deluxe rooms and standard doubles, to a backpacker’s lodge as well as serviced camping. Other facilities distributed along the wadi and courtyards include a spa-hammam, treatment rooms, crèche, restaurants, cafeterias and retail units.