Jonathan Ashmore, founder of Dubai-and-London-based architecture studio Anarchitect told Middle East Architect that the with recent efforts from government bodies and private companies, the UAE will start seeing a more experimental approach to the desert context among architecture projects.
"There’s an increased understanding and interest in working with the local context and being inspired by the local vernacular," Ashmore said. "This enables us to creatively repurpose already existing buildings and we feel there will be more and more experimentation within the desert context in the near future".
Anarchitect has recently completed Al Faya Lodge, a boutiue lodge and spa located in the Sharjah desert, repurposing two existing 1960s buildings to create an architecture that celebrates the old and introduces new interventions that respond to the surrounding landscape and context.
The project is part of the Sharjah Collection - a venture by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority’s (Shurooq) wider commitment to eco-tourism, promoting the emirate’s natural beauty, diverse wildlife and archaeological discoveries.
"There’s an increased interest in more culturally and historically led explorations of the UAE, sampling the Emirati experience and connecting more with the rich history and traditions of the UAE," Ashmore explained.
On whether Al Faya Lodge will become a "roll-out" concept, Ashmore responded: At Anarchitect, we’re fascinated by ‘destination architecture’ which is unique to its location, region, culture and heritage. It’s that intellectual approach which can be ‘rolled out’ rather than the building designs themselves, as they belong only to the exact places in which they were created."
Anarchitect's first project in Sri Lanka - a boutique hotel - is currently under construction and uses local materials, inspired by tropical modernism.