Ayla Golf Clubhouse
Within a single, succinct idea, the Ayla Golf Clubhouse delivers across a range of functional, construction, environmental, and aesthetic requirements.
Ayla is a $1.4 billion mixed-use resort in Aqaba, Jordan, and a major driver for tourism and economic growth. The socially and environmentally sustainable development on the Red Sea features an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Greg Norman—one of the most eco-friendly in the world. We were invited to design the Clubhouse, the Academy, and a series of comfort stations.
Situated at the intersection of Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, and only 80 miles south of the ancient city of Petra, the site is surrounded by iconic landscapes. With such beauty and a strong sense of place, we looked to the undulating dunes of the coast to see how we might “lift” and “carve” the desert to create silent, poetic structures.
Based on the human, environmental, and technological context, shotcrete became the optimal solution. Two shotcrete experts and a member of our Basel team taught the technique to Aqaba builders, uniting the sophisticated compound curves of the steel superstructure with the skills of local craftspeople. A concrete pump was the only piece of machinery required, with everything else done by hand for a simple and economical outcome.
A dynamic concrete shell drapes over the programmed areas, enveloping the interior under one continuous surface. Made with soil from the site, it is doused in local minerals and pigments by an Aqaba artist. Openings are sized to capture coastal breezes, and sunlight is filtered through perforated corten steel screens, similar to the traditional Arabic mashrabiya. Jordanian patterns inspired the triangular screen openings, while the tones of the surrounding mountains are echoed in the colors of the concrete and rustic metals.
With its evocative architectural form, the Ayla Golf Clubhouse captures the elemental beauty of the rolling desert landscape. Raw, visceral, and unadorned, the architecture evokes a spirit of place.