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Desert: The Latest Architecture and News

Coachella 2022 Installations Explore Architecture, Pop Culture, and Communities of the World

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2022, an annual festival held in the Colorado Desert in Indio, California, has opened to the public on Friday April 15th with immersive installations by 11 international architects, artists, and designers. Through explorations of scale, light, sound, and colors, the contextual installations explore global themes such as connectedness, environmental sustainability, immigration, social behavior and architecture, pop culture, and the community, and will be on display on April 15-17 and April 22-24, 2022.

Circular Dimensions x Microscape by Cris Cichocki. Photo by Lance Gerber. Image Courtesy of Coachella Valley Music & Arts FestvialThe Playground by Architensions, photo by Lance Gerber. Image Courtesy of Coachella Valley Music & Arts FestvialMutts by Oana Stănescu, photo by Lance Gerber. Image Courtesy of Coachella Valley Music & Arts FestvialCocoon (BKF + H300) by Martín Huberman, photo by Lance Gerber. Image Courtesy of Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festvial+ 64

Desert X AlUla 2022 Draws on the History and Culture of the Saudi Arabian Landscape

As part of the Desert X international contemporary art exhibition, the second edition of the Desert X AlUla features 15 contextual installations across the Saudi Arabian desert that explore "ideas of mirage and oasis". This year's exhibition is curated by Reem Fadda, Raneem Farsi, and Neville Wakefield, under the theme of Sarab (arabic for 'Mirage'), and invites artists to address the history and culture of the desert, its contemporary significance, and the dichotomy between the natural and man-made world.

Stephanie Deumer - Under the Same Sun. Image © Lance GerberJim Denevan - Angle of Repose. Image © Lance GerberAlicja Kwade - In Blur. Image © Lance GerberSultan bin Fahad - Desert Kite. Image © Lance Gerber+ 17

Disney Proposes "Magic in the Californian Desert" with New Mixed-Use Communities Project

Disney, the multinational entertainment and media conglomerate announced its new addition to its Signature Experiences Program. Titled "Cotino", part of its new Storyliving by Disney venture, the master plan is Disney's first master-planned community project, and will feature distinctly-designed housing units and neighborhoods, along with commercial and civic amenities and man-made beaches in the heart of Rancho Mirage, California's Coachella Valley.

© Disney© Disney© Disney© Disney+ 7

Christo's Biggest and Only Permanent Artwork Is Designed for Abu Dhabi's Desert

Conceived in 1977, and currently, in progress, The Mastaba, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s largest permanent artwork in the world, is designed for Abu Dhabi, to be built in a proposed location approximately 160 kilometers south of the city in the desert of Liwa, in the United Arab Emirates. Made from 410,000 multi-colored barrels, the installation will create “a colorful mosaic, echoing Islamic architecture”. 150 meters high, 300 meters long at the vertical walls and 225 meters wide at the 60 degrees slanted walls, the duo’s final project will take at least three years to be built, once it receives governmental approval.

The Mastaba of Abu Dhabi (Project for United Arab Emirates). Image © Christo and Jeanne-Claude FoundationThe Mastaba of Abu Dhabi (Project for United Arab Emirates). Image © Christo and Jeanne-Claude FoundationThe Mastaba of Abu Dhabi (Project for United Arab Emirates) Scale model 1979. Image © Christo and Jeanne-Claude FoundationThe Mastaba of Abu Dhabi (Project for United Arab Emirates). Image © Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation+ 12

21 African Nations Fight Desertification with 8,000 Kilometer Long Great Green Wall

African nations are fighting climate change with an 8,000 kilometer long Great Green Wall meant to combat the desertification of the Sahel region, home to over 100 million people. Spanning the entire width of the African continent, the movement aims to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land, sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon and create 10 million jobs in rural Africa by 2030. Stretching from Senegal in the West to Djibouti in the East, the project is the joint effort of 21 African nations that strive to restore the once lush region and protect the livelihoods of local communities.

Courtesy of Great Green WallCourtesy of Great Green WallCourtesy of Great Green WallCourtesy of Great Green Wall+ 6

Oppenheim Architecture Unveils Design of Nature-Integrated Mountain Resort in Saudi Arabia

Oppenheim Architecture and Saudi developers The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) have unveiled the design of a new mountain resort nestled in the wadi vistas of western Saudi Arabia. Titled Desert Rock, the project draws inspiration from the surrounding geography, allowing guests to connect with the nature and the local culture of the region through a fully nature-integrated architecture.

© Luxigon / Oppenheim Architecture + Design© Luxigon / Oppenheim Architecture + Design© Luxigon / Oppenheim Architecture + Design© Luxigon / Oppenheim Architecture + Design+ 12

BIG Unveils Massive Masterplan that Aims to be the Most Sustainable City in the World

Bjarke Ingels Group has released images of a new 150,000-acre masterplan that would be built from scratch on a desert in Western United States. Titled Telosa, the project aims "to create a new city in America that sets a global standard for urban living, expands human potential, and becomes a blueprint for future generations". The project is expected to house over 5 million residents within the next 40 years, with a vision of becoming the most sustainable city in the world.

Courtesy of BIG and @bucharest.studioCourtesy of BIG and @bucharest.studioCourtesy of BIG and @bucharest.studioCourtesy of BIG, Taschen+ 4

A Visual Journey within the Sanctuary of Wadi Rum

Delicately excavated from the natural grounds of Jordan’s Wadi Rum, Jordanian architect Rasem Kamal transformed the phrase of “form follows function” into “subtraction follows function”, emphasizing the relationship between external form and internal space with a resort that promises a sanctuary both above and underground.

In the newly-released video of the proposal, the architect uncovers the hidden resort and takes viewers on an enchanting walkthrough of the proposed Wadi Rum Sanctuary Resort. Kamal complements the desert’s jagged landscape with the resort’s subtle architecture, letting the structure blend seamlessly with its surroundings.

X-Architects Proposes "Architectural Constellation" for a Desert Hideaway Resort in KSA

X-Architects’ entry for the Desert Resort Competition, generated a luxury 60 keys desert hideaway resort, in an ultra-harsh and empty environment. Placed in Rub’ Al Khali, the world’s biggest sand sea located in the KSA, the project addresses the challenging design in desert-like surroundings.

Courtesy of VyonyxCourtesy of VyonyxCourtesy of VyonyxCourtesy of Vyonyx+ 13

The Czech Republic Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai Reveals Desert Cultivation Technologies

Located in the sustainability zone of EXPO 2020 Dubai, the Czech pavilion, designed by Formosa AA and R/FRM, is an invitation for discovery. Raising questions concerning desert cultivation, it integrates and exposes the S.A.W.E.R. system cultivation plant. Visible technologies form the main formal and visual components of the pavilion.

Courtesy of Formosa AACourtesy of Formosa AACourtesy of Formosa AACourtesy of Formosa AA+ 9

House Challenge 2019 Explores Temporary Dwellings in the Desert

The House Challenge 2019 has released the results of this year’s competition that gathered entries from all over the world. With a theme focusing on the Desert House, applicants designed new and original concepts for temporary housing in this harsh environment.

Foster + Partners Reveal First Images for Red Sea airport

Foster + Partners have released their design for the new Red Sea Airport, expected to welcome one million visitors by 2030. Inspired by the forms of the desert, the green oasis and the sea, the terminal building aims to provide a new type of experience, diverging from the common hassles of airports.

Christophe Benichou Architecture Designs Minimalist Desert Residence

Christophe Benichou Architecture's recent project Sesame is solitary and monolithic. Located in a desert, its facades are split open and fragmented, leaving parts of the walls slightly ajar. In each of these cavities sit icons of domesticity, including a bed, table, bathtub, sink, and toilet. 

Open Call: House Challenge 2019 - Desert House

Registration: Sep 30, 2019
Submission: Oct 1, 2019
Language: English
Location: Worldwide/Concept
Prizes: Cash Prize 1st for $500, 2nd for $300, 3rd for $200
Type: Open/Awards/International

“An idea is salvation by imagination.” - Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect.

HOUSE CHALLENGE is pleased to announce its annual international design competition: House Challenge 2019 - Desert House. The competition is designed to challenge and seek the creation of a temporary dwelling with ideas and concepts in architectural design, landscape design and site planning. The aim of this competition is to promote our ideas of exploring the possibilities for living in harsh environments, as well as simultaneously raising awareness of

Amey Kandalgaonkar Explores the Architectural Possibilities of Combining Desert Rocks and Geometric Forms

House Inside a Rock. Image © Amey Kandalgaonkar
House Inside a Rock. Image © Amey Kandalgaonkar

House Inside a Rock. Image © Amey KandalgaonkarHouse Inside a Rock. Image © Amey KandalgaonkarRock House 3. Image © Amey KandalgaonkarRock House 3. Image © Amey Kandalgaonkar+ 13

Although architecture has been constantly evolving, past builders have laid out a huge amount architectural heritage for us to learn from and get inspired by, and integrating natural elements with man-made structures is no exception.

Shanghai-based architect and architectural photographer Amey Kandalgaonkar found inspiration in the rock cut-tomb of Madain Saleh in Saudi Arabia, and with the same architecture approach, designed two residential projects that incorporate architecture with the rigid parts of nature.

Space Saloon Rethinks Design-Build through a Workshop in California's High Desert

The experimental design group Space Saloon has completed their first workshop, LANDING, to create exploratory projects and installations that rethink design-build and hands-on education. Curated by Danny Wills and Gian Maria Socci, the mobile educational camp investigates perceptions of place to develop projects that make territories and environments legible. Studying material, cultural, and energy-based phenomena, students from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and the International Program in Design and Architecture at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok (INDA) came together in the high desert of Morongo Valley, California.

Extent. Image © Daniel SchwartzSpace Saloon. Image © Daniel SchwartzThe Oscilloscape. Image © Daniel SchwartzGhost House. Image © Daniel Schwartz+ 27

Building Burning Man: The Unique Architectural Challenges of Setting Up a City in the Desert

The Black Rock Lighthouse Service by Jonny & Max Poynton. Image © Dan Adams
The Black Rock Lighthouse Service by Jonny & Max Poynton. Image © Dan Adams

Every year in August, a temporary metropolis is erected in Black Rock City, Nevada. This is Burning Man, an annual event of art and architecture that attracts some 70,000 participants. The people who come to Burning Man come from all walks of life. What is incredible is that they come together to construct an ephemeral city that lasts for 7 days. These people assume the role of architects and construction workers and use the desert to build all sorts of shelters in a fast, sustainable way. The desert is so remote, and everything built in Black Rock City is packed and taken home at the end of the event, and some of the art is burned on site. This poses a unique architectural challenge. The people who have come to build these structures have to plan them way in advance to accommodate all the challenges of working in the desert, but the result is worth it - a striking, unique city, democratically built, set against a desert landscape, and for only one week.

We had the chance to interview Kim Cook at the World Architecture Festival in Berlin. Kim Cook is Director of Art and Civic Engagement at Burning Man. Kim Cook and her team are tasked with increasing the impact of Burning Man’s arts and civic initiatives. As part of her role, Kim engages with artists and community leaders to increase opportunities for funding, collaboration and learning.

The Black Rock Lighthouse Service by Jonny & Max Poynton. Image © Joe SaleTangential Dreams by artist Arthur Mamou-Mani. Image © Debra WolffTangential Dreams by artist Arthur Mamou-Mani. Image © Ales, Dust to AshesThe Space Whale by The Pier Group with Matthew Schultz, Android Jones and Andy Tibbetts. Image © Zipporah Lomax+ 6