Oppenheim Architecture has completed the Ayla Golf Academy and Clubhouse in Aqaba, Jordan, taking inspiration from the natural dunescapes and mountains of the surrounding desert as well as the architectural heritage of the ancient Bedouin. The 1,200-square-meter building forms part of a 44-square-kilometer leisure development, containing residential, commercial, and hotel space centered on the 18-hole golf course.
The distinct architectural form of the clubhouse establishes a connection with nature by capturing the elemental beauty of the rolling desert landscape. A massive concrete shell drapes over the program areas, enveloping the walls of each volume. The volume’s curved shotcrete shell blends with the surrounding sand dunes, while openings in the shell offer views towards the Aqaba Mountains.
Across the openings, corten steel perforated screens filter the light, similar to the traditional Arabic “Mashrabiya.” The triangular pattern of the openings is inspired by traditional Jordanian patterns, while the tones of the surrounding mountains are echoed in the colors of the shotcrete and metals.
The scheme’s construction was the result of a knowledge exchange program between the European office of Oppenheim Architecture and local workforce. Shotcrete pouring techniques were taught to workers in the first phases so that they could take ownership of the construction and obtain specialized skills. A local artist also helped shape the building by applying a traditional pigmentation technique to the interior surfaces, granting a raw, unadorned look that stays true to its context and inspiration.
Location: Aqaba, Jordan
Client: Ayla Oasis Development Company
Scope: Architecture, Interior Design
Land Area : 44 sq.km
Golf Academy Built-up Area: 1,200 sq.m
Architect: Oppenheim Architecture
Interior Designer: Oppenheim Architecture
Golf Consultant: Greg Norman
Landscape: Form Landscape Architects
Structure Consultant: WMM EngineersAG
Shotcrete Consultant: Greuter AG
Local Architect: Darb Architects and Engineers
General Contractor: Modern Tech Construction
Shotcrete Contractor: Nino Construction Engineers
Branding: Ilona Studio
Principals in charge: Chad Oppenheim, Beat Huesler
Project Contributors: Aleksandra Melion, Anthony Cerasoli, Tom Mckeogh, Ana Guedes Lebre, Rasem Kamal