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Destination Spa + Resort

Oppenheim Architecture

Shared By

Morgan Day



  • Chad Oppenheim, Principal in charge
  • Lester Rey, Project Manager
  • Gilbert Attic
  • Jose Ortez
  • Olivier Montfort
  • Jacobus Bruyning
  • Santiago Eliaschev
  • Charles Michael Arnspiger
  • Victoria Pineros
  • Gerald Wood
  • Kevin Mcmorris
  • Kevin Heidorn

Project Status

Concept Proposal
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Project Description


In an ethereal landscape at the edge of desert and sea, this new resort and spa is framed within the founding principles of one of the most timeless and influential civilizations. A civilization defining architecture where simplicity and clarity is preferred over complexity and illusion. It is intensity without spectacle and singular not only in the clarity of the composition, but also in the quiet power of each component. The monumental architecture of the past celebrated the dead and the heavens above; this architecture celebrates the wonderful possibilities of life on this earth. Constructed with the land of the land, the symbiosis between building and terrain results in an embrace of natural resources and the universe at large.

Simultaneously establishing itself on the landscape, and receding into the landscape our proposal plays the counterpoints of presence and absence, the references of above, below and in-between: establishing balance. Formally, it is a reversion to geometric primitives that is resonant with the Euclidean landscape of the desert and allows for a timeless monumentality. A composition that is redolent of the primary shapes of the ancients. Zalal merges silently with its wondrous setting, seamlessly integrated with the earth. Exploiting and enhancing the natural beauty of Qatar to establish luxury spa accommodations – that are uniquely beautiful and powerful. Here the topographic transition from the desert dunescapes to the beach creates a welcomed transition from the sand to the sea. It stays true to the ancient vernacular traditions of in-earth building, having a reverence for the landscape, and the materials of the region. The nature of the discrete and selective carvings in the earth provides several opportunities for drama and surprise. Hence gardens, pools, meeting and meditative spaces area all found in the interstitial spaces at the gathering of program.

Our solution equalizes the power on site by establishing a balance of elemental mass, and a composition of bold and simple forms. There is an interplay of solid and void, with a reduction and clarification towards a silent monumentality, where the elements of land, water and sky converge. Designing with the most primitive as well as the latest construction techniques and materials from the most advanced scientific study we have pushed the illusion just within limits of reality. A vibrant dialogue between built form and landscape, inspired by, and in awe of the power of the desert.
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