Happy Independence Day
Loader
Join Now
The Future Of Design
Explore & Enjoy!!!

Oppenheim’s Golfing Oasis in the Jordanian Desert: An Ode to Contextual Integrity

Posted by
on July 13, 2019 at 03:58 PM

© Courtesy of internet resources

Oppenheim Architecture (offices: Miami, NY and Basel) are proving to be quite the masters of context when, after the rock-emulating structure for a water purification plant project at a rocky Swiss site, they have created a contextually aligned design for a golf academy and club house in the middle of the Jordanian desert.  Located at the Golf District at the Ayla Oasis Development Company in Aqaba, Jordan, the facility is planned to host several beaches, housing units, and an 18-hole golf course. What’s making news in this scheme is the earth coloured sinuous form of the club house designed by Oppenheim Architecture which blends in to the surrounding desert landscape without causing the least interruption.

Of the expanse of 17 square miles of leisure development that include residences as well as beaches and a golf course, it is the 40,000 square foot structure of the ‘Comfort Stations’ that catches the eye and the spirit! It has done so even during its construction, a technological innovation for the local construction workers which they were trained to execute. And it shall indeed continue to do so in the years to come of the facility’s use. The star attraction, as it is indeed ordained to be, is this comfort zone with the ingenious architecture of the golf club building.

© Courtesy of internet resources

The wavy scape of this clubhouse undulates in harmony with the desert’s rolling sand dunes and becomes one with them. Design architects Oppenheim have drawn inspiration from the dunes of the desert and the Bedouin tents that dot this sandy expanse, as well as the local Jordanian heritage of traditional built forms to create this charming piece of architecture.

© Courtesy of internet resources

The much adored structure of this clubhouse essentially a massive monolithic concrete shell that covers the building as its roof and some of its walling system as well. It drapes itself like an expansive sheet of earth over the entire building, embracing it within its folds like the sandy undulations of the desert around do. This could be achieved by applying the technology of Shortcrete, which is basically concrete, sprayed from a hose on to the reinforcing formwork which in this case is of a sinuous character. The addition of a slight orange pigment to the concrete before it was sprayed has resulted in the earth colour of the structure.

© Courtesy of internet resources
© Courtesy of internet resources

This technology, being a new one for the local workers, was taught to them through preparatory training sessions. Also, for the interiors, local artists were hired to render a process of pigmentation whereby a further reinforcement of contextual alignment was ensured. The whole setup has a raw look bereft of any additional embellishment or applied décor, which again is true to the local style of building.

© Courtesy of internet resources

Glazed surfaces and openings sans frames of any kind fixed into the shortcrete curvatures serve a refreshing recipe of material mixes while offering unhindered views of the Jordanian landscape around. Arabic ‘mashrabias’ have been invoked in the perforated and naturally ‘desert coloured’ Corten steel screens laser cut into geometrical designs to filter in some patterned sunlight. It also adds character to the night views of the curvaceous built form with the warm interior lights filtering through these patterned screens like a lit up carved Arabian lamp.

© Courtesy of internet resources
© Courtesy of internet resources

This building is a study in how a fresh approach to an architectural solution, which explores the entire gamut of elements from built form and grammar to material palette and colour, from the wisdom of traditional knowledge to the innovation of contemporary technology can truly be a cause for fraternal celebration. It can result in these built structures which are refreshingly, attractively unique in their architecture and consequently contribute to the evolution of the discipline. The sort of knowledge exchange programme that this project facilitated also highlights the blessings of international architectural practice – there is so much to be gained by both, the global designers and the local contributors.

© Courtesy of internet resources
© Courtesy of internet resources

With the experience of practicing their architecture in 25 countries around the world, Oppenheim surely are poised at the top of this game. The design of this golfing oasis, which includes an 18 hole golf course designed by the ace golfer  Greg Norman himself, adds weight to their repertoire of designs rooted in and sourced from a rich context of heritage. These projects are indeed a matter of satisfaction in the direction international architecture seems to have taken to forge ahead in. 

Share your thoughts

(required) Characters Left 500
TOP