International architect Chad Oppenheim has made a name for himself and his firm, Oppenheim Architecture + Design (OAD), with a variety of sleek, stylish skyscrapers, but the firm’s latest endeavor may well be its most unconventional.
Oppenheim’s design for the Wadi Resort, located in Wadi Rum, Jordan, will carve 47 luxe but minimal desert lodges out of the sandstone and granite rock formations that form the Valley of the Moon.
The winner of a global design competition, OAD’s design aims to seamlessly blend a luxury guest experience with stunning natural settings. The lodges and villas that make up the Wadi Resort will be carved directly into the sandstone cliffs, utilizing the existing geological geometries of the rock to devise their form. Other structures will be comprised of rammed earth and cement mixed with local red sand. The interiors and the exteriors of the lodges have been deliberately blurred, establishing maximum impact with minimum effort.
“We tapped the inherent power of the desert through primal and instinctual design moves, informed by the forces, rhythms and patterns of nature—past, present and future,” says Oppenheim.
The firms’ background in sustainable design will also be on display in Wadi Rum. Oppenheim devised a passive means of cross ventilation for the project, taking full advantage of the natural cooling effect of the rocks and allowing the project to minimize energy consumption while keeping guests comfortable. The use of local materials will be emphasized, and various water conservation measures will be established for both human use and site irrigation. In addition, the site will harvest rain water in subterranean cisterns, and will re-harvest gray/black water through a “living machine of botanical and biological nature.”
The 80,000-square-foot project is set for completion in 2014. To learn more about the Wadi Resort, visit www.oppenoffice.com.