Salt Lands / by Karim Nader

Once again, the magnificence of the landscape as the evident premise. And salt fields as man-made traces, like an archaeological excavation, once for the extraction of precious salt, now just an open ground. 

Salt Lands is the story of a resort as archaic settlement. Four bands of landscape instantaneously appear. On the street side, a major olive field. In the middle ground, a rocky field with low bushes, the perfect opportunity to regrow a pink field of tamaryx. A rocky shore later, with small traces of salt fields, much more major east and west of the site. Finally, the mediterranean, blue, desirable and perceivably infinite.

A programmatic layering will naturally follow the landscape. Four rows of white concrete square-based modules deploy on the site longitudinally to benefit from maximum exposure to the view, separated by 20m bands of landscape that become either private or public gardens. Varying typologies propose experiences that range from bigger beach villas on the shore to simplex and duplex typologies to the back. The cascading organization allows for maximum views even from the farthest areas in the site either on the ground fields or on the roof terraces. The architectural language interprets the salt fields as three-dimensional "mondrian-esque" compositions on white concrete, in plan and in elevation. For the hotel it becomes perforations in the double skin, mullions for the 11m height lobby, and hyper-transparency for the restaurant block.

On the street, a 180m long hotel erects a contemporary salt fortress hidden by lines of cypresses, very typical to the area, modulating the rhythm of cars passing by. Behind the wall, the hotel guests enjoy a planted double-skin that peeps towards the street through the many perforations of the fortress wall. The rooms and public functions on the other hand look seaside through the reconstituted olive field where, through a dispersed salt field-like landscape of pools, perspectives open up left and right between the rows of residences. The hotel roof, under it's overlaid system of tents, becomes another suspended garden where club, pool and bar deploy horizontally in uninterrupted views. 

Nearby the beach villas by the shore, the restaurant block is tucked within an abandoned quarry site opening towards the sea at its front. It is accessible from the roof that doubles as suspended terrace with mini-pool and bar.

Returning to the landscape, the olive field leaves space to pink landscapes of grasses and shrubs before reaching to the natural rocking edge, kept as intact as possible with just a few floating platforms to facilitate the walk or the tan. 

Project Status: Invited Competition.

Project Team: Karim Nader with Christy Layous, Samer Bou Rjeily, Iyad abou Ghaida, Elias el Hage.

Legal and Construction Consultant: Walid Sader

3D Visualization by Cleerstudio 

Landscape Design by Atelier Hamra

Sustainability by Seeds