Ayla inspired by Jordanian patterns and colors that echo the tones of the surrounding mountains

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Ayla Golf Clubhouse, located in Jordan and designed by Oppenheim Architecture, is a remarkable feat of architecture that meets various functional, constructional, environmental, and aesthetic requirements. Ayla is a mixed-use resort worth $1.4 billion in Aqaba, Jordan, that aims to drive tourism and economic growth. This socially and environmentally sustainable development on the Red Sea features an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Greg Norman, which is one of the most eco-friendly golf courses in the world.

The Oppenheim Architecture team was invited to design the Clubhouse, the Academy, and a series of comfort stations. The Ayla Golf Clubhouse is situated at the intersection of Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia and is surrounded by stunning landscapes, including the ancient city of Petra, located only 80 miles away.


To create silent, poetic structures that would blend in with the site’s beauty and strong sense of place, Oppenheim Architecture looked to the undulating dunes of the coast and used shotcrete as the optimal solution based on the human, environmental, and technological context. Two shotcrete experts and a member of the Oppenheim Architecture team from Basel taught the technique to Aqaba builders, uniting the steel superstructure’s sophisticated compound curves with local craftspeople’s skills.

A concrete pump was the only piece of machinery required, with everything else done by hand for a simple and economical outcome. A dynamic concrete shell drapes over the programmed areas, enveloping the interior under one continuous surface. Made with soil from the site, it is doused in local minerals and pigments by an Aqaba artist. Openings in the structure are sized to capture coastal breezes, and the sunlight is filtered through perforated corten steel screens, which are similar to the traditional Arabic mashrabiya.

Triangular screen openings inspired by Jordanian patterns were incorporated, while the tones of the surrounding mountains are echoed in the colors of the concrete and rustic metals. With its evocative architectural form, the Ayla Golf Clubhouse captures the elemental beauty of the rolling desert landscape. Raw, visceral, and unadorned, the architecture evokes a spirit of place.

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