Chad Oppenheim’s design for an eco lodge in Jordan’s desert is absolutely breathtaking. Also called the Valley of the Moon, Wadi Rum resembles a martian landscape with its high red sandstone and granite walls.
The downside is that this beauty attracts a throng of tourists each year, making it difficult to maintain its authentic Bedouin roots. But this award-winning design manages the impossible without compromising the kind of luxury service upper class travelers have come to expect.
The premise behind the Oppenheim’s design (an acclaimed architect from Miami) is minimum effort and maximum effect. Although it is a five star lodge, great strides have been taken to make it as sustainable as possible.
In this case sustainability not only refers to the natural environment, which here is incredibly stressed, but also having little impact on the local culture. Oppeneheim attempts to respect the Bedouins who have lived among the red valley for eons with a discreet, hidden facility that doesn’t jut out too conspicuously.
Using concrete forms and a sliver of glass, the lodge will rely almost completely on the natural thermal mass, obviating the need for artificial cooling or heating. Water conservation and harvesting will also comprise an essential component of the Desert Lodge’s overall sustainability. It will be completed in 2014.
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