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This gorgeous beach resort appears to disappear in the desert sand

Jordan is renowned for its history, food, and striking desert landscape. A new resort in the port city of Aqaba is taking the rolling dunes of the desert as its inspiration, as encapsulated by the curved roof of a gorgeous new clubhouse and golf center.

The building’s defining feature is a sand-colored curved concrete shell that helps it blend right into the surrounding mountains. Designed by the Switzerland office of Oppenheim Architecture, the clubhouse also served as the centerpiece of a knowledge exchange program, with the architects teaching local workers the shotcrete building technique: It involves spraying concrete through a hose at high speeds to construct walls.

[Photo: Rory Gardiner/courtesy Oppenheim Architecture]
All the building’s openings to the outside are defined by the rise and fall of the curved shell, with perforated steel screens in traditional Jordanian patterns acting as a shade against the sun. The interiors also reference the surrounding topography: The architects worked with a local artist, who took minerals from the region and applied them by hand, using a traditional pigmentation technique, to the walls and ceilings.

The clubhouse is part of what will be a 17-square mile-development called Ayla Oasis that’s currently under construction in Jordan’s only port city. It will eventually include residential homes, commercial space, and a hotel that’s oriented around an 18-hole golf course (and this clubhouse). Beneath the rolling concrete roof, the building has shops, restaurants, a bar, fitness center, and spa.

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