Dubai-based GAJ has shared details of its Tozeur Resort in Tunisia, runner-up in the Hospitality & Leisure category at the 2011 Middle East Architect Awards.
The 63-key resort is located along the western boundary of Tunisia, adjacent to Algeria, on the edge of the Chott El Jerid – a natural salt lake. The flat hostile environment stretches for miles in all directions.
It comprises a destination spa, a banqueting and conference centre and a cultural village.
Other facilities include local craft studios, retail outlets, restaurants, nightclubs as well as an Arabian Nights outdoor dining experience and an outdoor amphitheatre.
GAJ’s design maximises views over the landscape, as well as bringing a sense of “calm order” over the stark beauty of the Chott. The design intent was to translate and evolve the language of the indigenous architecture in both the usage of local materials and the massing of the buildings.
Walkways and connections, although ‘contained’ by soft landscape, offer glimpses of the landscape. Entering through the main entrance doors, the reception lobby has purposely been kept stark to direct the guests view outward toward the wide expanse of the Chott.
Externally, the ‘streets’ and walkways are a defining characteristic. In some places the path meanders through palm groves while in others it moves through more formal streets and courtyards.
The path offers glimpses of the buildings and landscape beyond, but never a full view of the development.
The project is currently on hold due to the political situation in the country.