The World’s Coolest New Golf Clubhouse Is Nothing Like You Would Imagine
Ayla Golfclub is one reinvented to blend into the Jordanian desert.
Golf establishments typically have a sense of formality and tradition (and plenty of plaid). Oppenheim Architecture wanted to throw out tradition and pay homage to the spectacular setting. The club is part of the Ayla Oasis, a resort in the coastal city of Aqaba, and accompanies an 18-hole course designed by Greg Norman.
“We were asked for an iconic building, and we were turned off by this quest,” says principal Chad Oppenheim. “Instead, we focused on making a profoundly silent yet dramatic structure that integrates into the landscape that opens ups to the surrounding mountains.”
The team was captivated by the location’s dunes and the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains. “We wanted human-made dunes to occupy the space,” says Oppenheim. The firm devised a curved concrete shell for the exterior, mimicking the rolling landscape. The building seems to rise from the desert, and curved openings frame views of the course and the mountains.
Arabic design was also a strong influence. The team put a twist on traditional mashrabiyas, or window screens, by constructing them out of Corten steel.
Oppenheim says that the building’s unadorned look was very purposeful: “Ayla Golf Academy and Resort isn’t a highly polished project—we wanted soul and character.” Part of that character comes from the involvement of the local workers and craftspeople. “It was essential for us that the building was handmade—that it comes from the land and shows the soul of the people, “ he adds.
For Oppenheim, the ultimate goal of the building was not to stand out but to blend into its surroundings. “We feel this building is constructed with the land, not on the land,” he says. “This brings the users of the golf club and academy closer to an experience that connects them deeply with nature, heightening their surroundings of the landscape around.”