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Lay of the Land

Modern architecture in Jordan

The Wadi Rum Resort was designed by the US/Swiss architectural team of Oppenheim Architecture+Design. Wadi Rum, or the Valley of the Moon, is one of Jordan's most famous destinations, a sand-swept landscape of pristine beauty, inhabited largely by Bedouins and a steady influx of tourists. Chad Oppenheim's competition-winning plan for a new Desert Lodge takes this ersatz upscale canvas and blends it with minimalism, drama and, perhaps most importantly, sustainability. If everything goes as planned, the Wadi Rum Resort will open by 2014.

Here, where desert sand meets desert stone, the architects saw a singular opportunity to devise a new contract between man and nature. Reinterpreting the way people have dealt with the earth, Oppenheim Architecture+Design's proposal establishes a new benchmark for design, quality and sustainability in the natural environment. To live in harmony with the natural world, we must learn how to re-engage the land. Earnest and timeless, the architecture is simultaneously powerful, yet comfortable; primitive, yet innovative; casual, yet elegant; raw, yet refined.

The built form merges silently with its wondrous setting, exploiting and enhancing the natural beauty of the site to establish luxury lodge accommodations – that are uniquely beautiful and luxurious. The resulting experience is sensual and sensitive, intentionally reduced to what is essential, establishing an ancient connection with the universe through simple, elemental forms, sincere materiality/detailing, and the use of bountiful natural resources both physical and ethereal. Nature accelerated, enhanced and embraced; nature nurtured.