With enough money, modern technology and piped-in water anyone can build a luxury resort in the middle of a desert. (Exhibit #1: Las Vegas.) But building a luxury resort in the middle of the desert in a completely environmentally sustainable way—that’s a challenge. Yet Oppenheim, an architecture firm based in (of all places) the desert-deprived state of Florida, managed exactly that with their design for an eco-resort in Jordan’s Wadi Rum desert.
Despite its inhospitable conditions, people have been living in the Wadi Rum desert for millennia. Oppenheim sought to take advantage of that long accumulated knowledge while developing their resort design. They took a big cue from the ancient Nabataeans people, who more than 2,500 years ago carved their capital of Petra into the rock. (Petra, not incidentally is a 90-minute drive from the Wadi Rum resort and one of the world’s great sights.) So Oppenheim, did this too. Their plans for the Wadi Rum resort calls for 47 “primitive luxury” guest abodes. Each will either be carved into sandstone cliffs or be built inside naturally existing rock formations.
Oppenheim borrows construction methods from the Jordan desert’s native people too. All the walls and structures constructed for the resort will be made either from rammed earth or from cement mixed with local red sand.
As for water, the Wadi Rum resort will take whatever the desert does provide, no matter how diluted or sandy, and turn it into portable drinking water. That will happen through the use of a Living Machine, a biological treatment system that cleans water in much the same way a natural wetlands does.
All together, the plan for Oppenheim’s Wadi Rum resort sounds very cool. You, and we, won’t be able to see it for ourselves until the resort is opened in late 2014. In the meantime, if you looking for an eco-friendly luxury resort experience in the Middle East, Spot Cool Stuff highly suggests Egypt’s Adrere Amellal.
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