Qanat, an eco-hotel in Iran’s desert, makes ancient tech new

When you go deep into a desert, whether it’s Iran or Sinai, it has a similar effect of being in a forest. The stark nature of the planet holds you. Deserts may offer less distractions in your peripheral vision but the clouds and sand come to life as you feel yourself expanding within the expanse.

qanat hotel iran

That perhaps was the mood for a new conceptual hotel in Iran designed by Margot Krasojević and uses ancient Iranian methods for desert survival using underground flowing water, called the qanat. In Arabic, this type of channel is more often called a kariz.

Long-ago tribesmen found underground springs in the foothills of the region of Iran and Oman, and engineered a technology that channels the water over the land, irrigating farms and oases and supplying households with water as needed. Although some say that qanat is a concept 3000 years old, others claim 5000 years. But they were definitely engineered before the Roman aqueducts were built. 

We’ll explain more about qanat below.

Margot Krasojević

The hotel in this dreamscape is located in Makran, a semi-desert coastal strip stretching from south-eastern Iran to Pakistan’s Baluchistan, and bordering the coasts of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

A qanat is an ancient system that uses gravity to transport water from higher ground to lower ground

Krasojević sees an eco-tourism resort that uses wind, heat, and aquifers to create a modern wind tower and qanat system: ancient air conditioning! 

Windcatcher towers were designed for ventilation and evaporative cooling while the hotel provides much-needed shelter in a shapeshifting landscape where survival is not always an assumption.  While qanats, vertical shafts and tunnels, ferry water to the ground service without the need for pumping. The hotel sits on an existing qanat, attempting to make it more efficien

A qanat is an ancient system that uses gravity to transport water from higher ground to lower groundA self inflating PVC canopy and condensation pool collects water from thin air.

The hotel, if it were built, would encourage a more even distribution of water further into the desert to water remote farms. 

Since the underground can shield us from punishing heat, the hotel rooms are partially built under the earth and open to atriums from which natural light flows.

A qanat is an ancient system that uses gravity to transport water from higher ground to lower ground

About Margot Krasojević Architects

Margot Krasojević completed her architectural education at the Architectural Association School of Architecture and University College London and worked with Zaha Hadid Architects as lead undergraduate and masters studio director for sustainable design programs, at UCL, University of Greenwich and University of Washington.

She has since opened a multidisciplinary architectural design studio focusing on integrating environmental issues, renewable energy and sustainability as part of the design process. She is currently working on projects in Asia, where she is integrating and harnessing renewable energy as part of a buildings service infrastructure. 

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