Wadi Resort by Oppenheim Architecture + Design


Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

Florida-based practice Oppenheim Architecture + Design have released these images of their proposals for 47 desert lodges at a resort in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

The lodges will be carved directly into the sandstone cliff face and the building elements will be made from rammed earth and cement mixed with local red sand.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

Here are some more details from the architects:

Oppenheim Architecture + Design
unveils future primitive lodges in Wadi Rum, Jordan shifting the paradigm of luxury forever

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

International “green” architect Chad Oppenheim sets a new benchmark for design and ecological sensitivity with the Wadi Resort - located in Wadi Rum, Jordan, set for completion in 2014.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

Oppenheim Architecture + Design (OAD) beat out a global competition and will execute an unprecedented project comprised of 47 desert lodges, setting forth a future primitive experience for the avid globetrotter, an hour and a half outside of Petra, the ancient city of the Nebataeans carved into the desert rock.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

Oppenheim’s winning proposal set out to reinterpret the way society deals with surrounding nature by taking full advantage of the mystical valley where desert sand meets desert stone.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

The project merges silently with its wondrous setting, exploiting and enhancing the natural beauty of the desert to establish accommodations that are uniquely elemental and luxurious.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

Dramatically situated, the lodges and villas in their various incarnations; are all about a visceral connection to culture and place. The resulting experience is a revolutionary notion of opulence that is intentionally reduced to what is essential.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

The structure of the lodges will be carved into the sandstone cliffs, utilising the existing geological geometries of the rock to devise the form. Other structures are comprised of rammed earth and cement mixed with the local red sand. The minimal yet powerful gestures of the architecture, both built and carved serves to create harmony, and balance while framing and amplifying the surroundings.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

The interior and exterior are deliberately blurred establishing maximum impact with minimum effort. Inspired by the primordial, Oppenheim used his expertise in sustainable design to create passive means of cross ventilation, taking full advantage of the natural cooling effect of the rocks, and proper positioning allowing the project to minimize energy consumption and maximize comfortable healthy living.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

“We have trained and heightened our senses to see, smell, taste, hear, and touch the mystical beauty of Wadi Rum.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

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 about his creative process for the project.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

The strategies employed are those that have been proven over the last thousands of years. We have learned a great deal from the civilisations that have lived in the beautiful and magical desert for millennia.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

Great care has been given to utilising local materials as well as various water conservation measures for both human and site irrigation to establish a relatively closed system of harvesting rain water in subterranean cisterns and re-harvesting grey/black water though a living machine of botanical and biological nature.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

All systems and services will be completely integral to the design.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

The 80,000-square-foot architectonic form responds directly to the rich regional cues: an evolutionary process that has established, over millennia, a clear and appropriate identity found in the Middle East.

Wadi Rum by Oppenheim Architecture

  • Ummmm

    Drilling the mountain is eco. And the water will also come from the eco… and the transportation to this far away place will also be eco. And of course with such luxus there can't be garbage and dirty water.

  • I am not a great fan of the external view – I think the shapes carved into the rock look somehow too harsh (though I think fluffy cloud shapes or circular portholes would look silly). But the view from the inside looking out is breathtaking. The first view looks like a crack in the wall (or the rock) made by an earthquake or some other natural means – like a fault line. The idea of carving into rock to make spaces to dwell is a brilliant one all the same.

    • Sea Bass

      The view from OUTSIDE looking out is even more breathtaking. Why would you want a glass screen and air conditioning between you and Wadi Rum? Oh wait…. the phillipino (not Bedoiun) waiter won't be able to bring me my piping hot latte if i leave the glass box….. Maybe the sand people will get me if i leave the glass box……

  • Hans Schuler

    straight out of the sketchup factory, unsympathetic touch to a beautiful landscape.

  • bubblestraw

    While the designs might be neat, I truly hope we don't destroy our deserts for the luxury of travelers. this actually makes me sad.

  • Mert

    One can only pray that the Revolution will move to Jordan and put an end to this project before it breaks ground.

  • fergus

    A 21st Century Petra?

  • volpster

    Calling yourself an International “green” architect and proposing this project at the same time is really insulting the intelligence of all dezeen-readers!

  • I find the proposal aesthetically pleasing but the project is not as “green” as intended to be. The mere fact that the location is "an hour and a half outside of Petra" poses an issue for transportation of building supplies. I'm not implying that it should be built, but it certainly shouldn't be advertised as "a new benchmark for design and ecological sensitivity".

  • Guest

    Very American, maybe suitable in the Grand Canyon, but Jordan, Nebataeans , um, this is way off and over stated.
    Maybe can be applied to some Afghanistan bombing sites…

  • Emerson

    Its beautiful. They should build this as soon as possible. Get there by camel.

  • Stephan

    Well done Chad, another brilliant project

  • Kim Nguyen Ngoc

    Most of the comments are obviously coming from people that have no clue about Petra, the ecology of the desert in the Middle East, what a wadi is and the amount of money already spent on palaces in the desert since the 60's.

    I find this project very inspiring, beautiful and poetic. It is very much in tune with pharonic architecture and most of the troglodyte archeological treasures found in the region sperading from Egypt, the Sinai to West coast of Saudi Arabia. Material and lights are very well understood as well as the water element which defines the wadi. All the elements for a post-Zumthor-meets Steven Holl are here in this marvelous project.

  • alessandro

    lol @ "very american" comment.

    What is "american?" I can tell you, as an american, that that is not "american."

    Doesn't mean it's bad, either. It follows a similar vein as Petra with more of our technological prowess behind it. It's a very human thing.

  • Is cool. Is beautiful. Is original. Is NOT green.

  • Hamad

    This project is silly. The only thing 'green' about it is the architect's lack of knowledge of the Jordanian desert climate and bedouin culture.

  • Omar

    I've been to wadi rum many times before. And I really hope this does not get built. There is absolutely NOTHING green about the project. Money could be used for other much needed/essential initiates in Jordan..

  • Giuseppe

    I have just come back from Wadi Rum…please do not destroy such a beautiful landscape creating resort. The nice of the desert is that it is desert with amazing friendly beduin

  • Hercule Poirot

    Stay away from unspoiled territories with your pathetic happy few architecture. Isn't there enough to restore ?

  • A bit ironic how in the ancient past the people who lived in desert caves were ascetic hermits.

    And now they will be replaced by jet set Forbes-list members ;)

  • gaque

    i believe the term "future primitive" belongs to sou fujimoto.

  • geeza

    hang the ´greens` as long as there are trees..

  • si

    the gigantic glass walls implies air conditioning will be provided for the comfort of the patrons?

  • Urban Commentry

    Haven't we already done enough damage to landscapes and ecologies around the world for resources that we have to now dig out rock to go and live in there ? And as opposed to @Kim Nguyen Ngoc , I do not find this project to be poetic and beautiful at all, especially during this age that we live in. And I have to agree with most comments above – this is NOT ECO !!! not by the farthest stretch of ANYBODY'S imagination can this be considered eco. It's a shame that this project actually won a contest and sad that it might actually get built.

  • Nelly

    maybe the problem is the competition in the first place…i agree with all the negative comments, but the poor architects are gettin a roasting from everyone…i think they did a good job considering what brief was put in front of them…the problem is with the people who want to build a project like this in the first place, they are the people who should receive these comments!

    • But shouldn't architects and designers be held accountable for their projects if they are originally conceived in ways that could harm people or wreck the environment?

      Imagine, for the sake of argument, if the Nazis had launched a contest to design a concentration camp?

      Hmm… maybe that's a bit extreme –how about a contest to design a house entirely on asbestos?

      We as creative professionals should have the ethical responsibility to acknowledge whether our ideas are intended for the greater good, or just for greedy short-sighted profiteering. The excuse that "somebody else might end up doing it" has done Humanity too much harm already.

      • nelly

        I agree, completely!…but like you said some else might end up doing it…the problem is, it will be done…and maybe its better to get the best possible result considering…(ok, if this project was put in front of me I would hope I would do something more sympathetic to the environment)….BUT the beast will continue whatever, with or without you…you cant fight it…and you cant fight the people pushing it

        • >"BUT the beast will continue whatever, with or without you…you cant fight it…and you cant fight the people pushing it "

          I must respectfully disagree. You see, I'm a die-hard incorrigible idealist —why do you think I chose to tread the narrow path of Design? ;)

        • Peter

          jesus, why bother trying to do anything green at all? We may as well drill in Alaska, lets design beautiful rigs with aesthetically pleasing runoff pipes….someone's gonna do it anyway, may as well make it look nice.

  • We have been visiting Rum since 1984 and seen it change from the simple home of the local Zalabia Bedouin camps and no tourists to what it is today. Many changes, not always for the best. Whilst this proposal has its own intrinsic beauty it is nevertheless an anachronism and should not be in Rum. But is it? Rum is generally understood these days to be the area between Wadi Rum (the real Rum) and Disi, and south to the Saudi border. This is the area of the most stunning mountains and deserts and is still the home of the Bedouin. It has already been over-developed with tourist camps. We hope this one – which will require more traffic, more water, etc etc and will be far from eco, will be outside this area. Enough is enough.

  • Seb Miller

    Wow… Nebataean design with a modern twist!!! I love that first image….. but the more I think about it, this project will COMPLETLY DESTROY what Wadi Rum is about. Wadi Rum It is a difficult place to get to…. you can only sleep in tents….. you eat as a group with the bedouin tribes (who are amaizingly freindly and fun!!)…. the quietness and beauty of the desert makes this one of the most special places in Jordan. Compare this to the upmarket hotels in Wadi Musa (Petra) and the overpriced tourist shops (and people) whose only goal is to make a quick buck off tourits…… This is what Wadi Rum will end up if we have developments like this. Great ideas…. but not for this place!!!

  • i can only judge it as…. surreal and poetic…..!

  • I second the views of Tony Howard. Having been to Wadi Rum on numerous occasions, I don’t think this is what the desert needs at all. Beautiful scenery, but simply not necessary.

    From a designers view point, the proposed architecture is wonderful, although I doubt very eco.

    No vote here.

  • Harb zawaideh

    If your father damage the water in Wadi Rum,that the only thing we have to survive,we dont allow to you to distroy our culture and traditions by your dirty projects, if you have alot of money we dont allow to you to by our land thats our grandfathers protect it during your family not existing, imossible impossibe to use our land….
    You are coming next to the protected area to distroy the nature and to make competion with the local people… GO A WAY FROM NOWWWWWW !!

  • mrswoo

    I think that they are beautiful.

    And I'm 902.

  • Anna

    I think I like it even though it will make me feel like Princess Leia or Obi-Wan Kenobi

  • betterarchitecture

    Less mountain is not more.

  • raul

    Of course a luxury hotel would never be eco… the word luxury its not eco… but it looks like a great challenge for ingeniers and architecs, really like the idea.

  • 1plus2minus3

    I would love to see this built in the middle of a city center, changing it to look like this chunk of beautiful natural location!

  • Mohammad zawaideh

    This project not adapt with the nature,its modern and just needing to earn money,and you dont conseder the deserve of the local people to keep their culture and traditions .

  • protester from rum

    wadi rum is a fantastic area and doesn`t need to do this project beacuse it will effect on nuture and envieroment .people come to wadi rum to interest in simple-great views,golden rose,pink mountains ,sunrise ,sunset and sanddune. they don`t come to see the creative caves which people make also i think people escape from the stress and prasure of work and life to visit the simple desert.in addition this project cover a big distance of wadi rum area and not allowed toursts to see all runis

  • If someone can explain how this project will serve the land and those who call it home, I would appreciate it. If there is no direct benefit to the society or environment, then those in a decision-making position must think carefully about the choices in front of them. Thank you.

  • Dominique

    The environmental problem does not lie in the architectural design proposed by Oppenheim, but at first in the idea of ​​creating a resort in this extraordinary place.

    One starts with this project, then others will follow until this environment will be totally destroyed.

    My opinion is that the idea to sacrifice the Wadi Rum to the tourism is particurlarly stupid.

  • Salve Veritas

    I hope the perpetuators would listen to critical comments. The sheer arrogance of this proposal is mindboggling. Call it sustainable -haha is any word that gets prostituted more nowadays? There is no water, virtually zero humidity yet one is splashing about like somwhere in Miami…
    Leave it alone if you don't know what to do. Future generations would be greatful for that.

  • Salah Zawaideh

    I am someone who calls Wadi Rum my home. My grandfather fought for this land. And my family and I have been sharing this beautiful place with people from all around the world ever since. I hope that my children can appreciate the natural beauty of this land as well. The natural landscape has drawn travellers who desire to be close to the land and share a communion with it. A project such as this will draw different travellers–those who seek a luxury experience and do not care about the environmental and social costs that it brings. The meaning of development is no longer luxury swimming pools and multi-million dollar energy costs. In a consuming world development means something more. It means thinking about the people and land that you are affecting. This project will begin with infinity pools and end with mercedes buying out our camels and air conditioning replacing out tents. Our land is our family, our traditions, our food, and our honor. We will fight for our all of these.

    • Christina

      Having been to Wadi Rum this year it is the most beautiful place I have visited in 50 years of travel. We felt priviledged that the local people have so generously shared your land and allowed us a little insight. The fact that some outsiders have the nerve to go into this place with those suggestions made me cry. There will be many people who have been fortunate to have visited your land who would love to fight for you to keep this place with its traditions. I hope that any power earthly or heavenly will protect you and keep you and your land safe.


    I am against a project that takes land from the Bedouin people living in the area and giving it to a billionaire's daughter who has no clue what these people want or desire. they are planning to create a luxury resort and hiring outside people to manage it. She will not use the Bedouin cars, camels or anything coming from them. Enough is enough. Eco i doubt but if it was what is so great of having an eco resort while the people of rum are suffering due to such project. They should help support the current businesses not the other way around. THAT IS WHAT I CALL SELFISH.

  • Ana

    Looks A LOT like the first place of Arpafil 2009 competition: http://www.fil.com.mx/img/arpafil/2009.jpg