Design principal at JT+Partners in Dubai, Abdelkader Saadi said that architects need to work on creating a new resort typology that responds to the local climate of the GCC.
“Hotel typologies need to be adapted to the local climate,” he said. “What we have been seeing are typologies that you would see in Greece or other parts of the Mediterranean, where you have this fragmented resort that stretches out horizontally, but in the GCC, this doesn’t work. There are three or four months of the year, that you cannot use outdoor spaces because of the heat, so these resorts lose money.”
The comments came as part of a larger discussion that addressed the future of hospitality design in the region. Held by JT+Partners, the roundtable was attended by Saadi’s colleagues including the firm’s Lama Harb, associate director; Marta Galvez, project architect and Gianluca Ciuffo, architect.
Saadi added, “Rather, what we are looking into is creating a vertical-horizontal hybrid. You have some examples coming out now of vertical hotels that have outdoor spaces, like the one in Singapore with the infinity pool and the Atlantis Royal in Dubai.
“It’s beneficial to the operator, because in a vertical tower, you don’t care what the climate is as the air is controlled, but in a horizontal resort, you can only use the amenities for part of the year. In combining the two, you have something that would work year-round.”
Saadi went on to suggest that another typology could be building below ground, and creating a courtyard surrounded by the rooms. It’s a lesson taken from ancestors who have already learned how to live comfortably in the region.
“It’s all related,” said Ciuffo. “As a designer, you need to consider all possible factors. Reaching the point that we are at today was only achieved by compiling all the data that architects have already learned. Our challenge is being the collector of information and creating the right combination of that data to inform our design and create a successful experience for the end-user and client.”
The full report will be published in Middle East Architect’s June issue.