In the remote South of Oman there is a fishing village Shuwaimia on a 30KM virgin beach. The client is a regional developer interested in developing 1 million square meters of precious land where the mountains meet the Indian Ocean. The architect proposed working with the Earth; a low density Eco resort that will meet the triple bottom line, the economic: cheaper to build using low skilled local labor and materials and higher revenue attracting eco tourists seeking remote and authentic experiences. The environmental: working with local materials and using passive and active green energy. The social: working with and engaging the local population, giving fishermen an additional skill to be used after fishing season, expressing the local culture in the architecture and giving the new town a sense of identity and local pride.
Working with local materials was key in making a sturdy prototype that also blends with the local architecture; old fishing nets were mixed with plaster for extra reinforcement, using local stone for flooring purposes, and traveling across Oman in search of local arts and crafts served the team with abundant choices, given the nation’s proud tradition and dedication to keeping the artisanal culture alive. When it came to powering the resort, solar panels played a major role: Solar panels harnessed electricity, a solar heater was put in place, and a solar-powered air conditioning system was introduced. Using the sun’s energy managed to reduce consumption by a staggering 30-40%, and in doing so the team cultivated a growing curiosity towards employing green energy throughout the community with various other clean energy applications.
The result of the prototype was extremely successful, the client was very pleased with the results as we managed to reduce the construction cost by 30% and expect these figures to improve. The thick 50cm earth walls combined with the wind tower provides a very pleasant environment.
In their final masterplan, the team aims to implement a permanent crafts center that would allow for the creation of new job opportunities for women in the local community, as well as providing an onsite training program at the local architecture college that teaches sustainable architectural practices. In the meantime, a monitoring system for the prototype has been put in place, and the data will be made available for research purposes in the future.
Project name: Gunoot Eco Resort PROJECT DATA
Client / Owner / Developer: Mohammed Al Saqqaf – United Real Estate Company
Architects, Engineers and Planners:
Project Architect: Waleed Shaalan, SSH International – Hooman Fazly, Cal-Earth – The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture
Super Adobe Consultants: Cal-Earth – The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture Main Contractor: Fahd Siddiqi, Al Tajawob
Location: Shuwaimia, Oman
Coordinates: 17.827084, 55.436347
Specific Use of Building: resort development featuring hotels, villas, retail, leisure and entertainment facilities.
Materials: Super Adobe system – local materials like old fishing nets mixed with plaster for additional reinforcement and locally available stone for flooring.
Site Area: 1 million square meters of precious land
Project Area: approx 1,000 km² resort development
Text Description: © Courtesy of SSH Design, bazaar-magazine.
Images: © Waleed Shaalan, SSH Design – http://designalmic.com.
Content retrieved from: http://www.herskhazeen.com/gunoot-eco-resort/.