Despite searing temperatures, ample desalinated water allows this desert site to be transformed into a verdant oasis with outdoor pools and scenic landscaping.
Sheathed in shimmering aluminium, a massive curved roof shelters and unites the compound’s series of two-storey buildings. In section, the canopy forms a crescent moon, the symbol of new life that tops the minarets of Islam. The canopy is supported by stone-clad columns that function as mechanical exhaust vents; they pierce the roof and project up to the sky, reminiscent of traditional windcatchers in the age before air conditioning. The whole structure suggests a giant Bedouin tent, with the football field-sized roof, cantilevered 30 feet on each side, casting a giant swathe of shade.
The main entrance is approached through date palm grove aisles. A reflecting pool, which flows indoors and provides cooling, surrounds the front facade. A moucharabie, the traditional lattice sunscreen, filters direct sun. Gardens, fountains, shady courtyards, and terraces surround and penetrate the buildings, making it a desert paradise.