Designed by 109 Architectes, their proposal in the Zaarour Club Competition, which won the second prize, takes advantage of the natural setting while creating a distinctive yet unobtrusive project identity. Consequently, the primary challenge with the Zaarour Resort is to construct the density required while still respecting and incorporating the rich natural environment. More images and architects’ description after the break.
On a spectacular untouched location, the site’s inherent character allows various relationships to the larger environment through views, pathways, trails and landscapes. While each project element is considered independently, overarching principles characterize theproject as a whole: to honor undulating topography lines; to give preference to natural views; and to use natural building material. The project’s identity is formed by a humble approach towards the site and an ability to look beyond architectural trends.
Our urban approach is characterized by four key methods designed to: Initiate – To create a breathtaking first impression of the Zaarour Complex, the pedestrian and vehicular entrance is enlarged bringing the stunning backdrop of the ski station to the forefront. Distribute – The hotel, a mixed use and continuously animated building, is the heart of the complex and surrounded by various programs. Connect – Pedestrian pathways swell and contract to produce a circulation network across the site. Several interior and exterior common spaces punctuate them, creating vibrant atmospheres and scenic promenades.
Integrate- Fragmenting the buildings grants the massing flexibility to follow the site’s undulating topography, which reduces the impact of the buildings and blends them into their natural surroundings. It also allows for the optimization of multiple views. Landscape penetrates the spaces produced in between, creating multiple pocket gardens. The natural materials of the buildings, stone walls and pitched wooden roofs support its integration into the environment.
ordered by the various picturesque mountain views. The parking is partially concealed below ground level, reducing its impact and distance to the station. The ski station acts a suction device between the street and the slopes, pulling skiers in from the street and releasing them onto the slopes. The club chalets are scattered across the site’s edges, reframing the lush landscaped basin. The integrity of the basin is respected as a unique landform condition. A youth inn also finds its place on the side of the basin. It is conceived as a stratum that rises to connect the basin to the chairlift, creating a dynamic space that skiers flow out of and into.
The chairlift covers are designed as natural folds in the terrain that blend into the scenery. At the summit, the existing structure is demolished and in its place a restaurant is “plugged in” to the slope, overlooking the entire project. The lake zone is designed to highlight the regional flora and fauna that thrive in fluctuating water levels and changing seasons. As water naturally evaporates, decks and new stone paths are revealed. This transforming space includes a floating platform that may be used as a stage.
The other group of chalets are scattered along the topography lines and visual corridors, creating an organic external space. A vibrant and warm interior space is produced by the openings to the picturesque views and wood roof slopes.
Architects: 109 Architectes
Location: Zaarour, Lebanon
Partner in Charge: Youssef Mallat
Architect in Charge: Richard Kassab
Team: Michel Semaan, Rami Nouhra, Layal Aoun, Raffi Santourian, Richard Azzam, Nada Assaf, Joy Traboulsi, Aline Chahine, Sandra Richani
Renders: Tony Antoun
Landscape Architects: Atelier Hamra
Sustainable Design: Eco Consulting
Electro-Mechanical Consultant: Barbanel Traffic
Quantity Surveying: EGN Consultants
Client: Gabriel El Murr
Budget: $60M USD
Status: Competition – 2nd prize