Eco Lodge
(Award Winner)

Key principles

Climate responsive design, Environmental simulations, Kinetic Structure, Lightweight structure, Winning Entry Competition


Year: 2020
Country: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Client: Abu Dhabi Environment Agency’s (EAD)

Named as “Desert Lens”, the project was selected as winning entry for the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency’s (EAD) Eco-Lodge competition. From more than 100 entries, our proposal was credited for its intelligent combination of energy efficient, cost effective and eco friendly design.

“Desert Lens achieves a high level of flexibility via a reconfigurable tensile structure superimposed on a fixed bamboo shell. The ability of the tensile structure to provide privacy, shelter from elements, and shaded areas in a simple, low-cost, analog manner is effective. The rendering depicting the user interacting with the tensile structure in the windy, sublime context is a poetic depiction of man not alienated from – but part of – the dune ecosystem.”

Desert lens is an orb that is resilient to desert conditions yet adaptive to the views around it. It resembles an eye with its sail-like tensile cover that behaves like an eyelid: the sail is dropped to protect from dusty winds, lowered to shade from the rising sun in different orientations, or raised to view the Sky.

The lens is a shelter and a mediator between the dweller and the desert, between the clear night sky and the human eye, between the serene outdoor landscape, biodiversity, and the human comfort inside.

Desert lens maximizes exposure in nighttime to the celestial sphere. In the daytime, it can shut down and form a horizontal view frame for the desert landscape.

The rhombus typology of the lodges makes it adaptive to spine, radial or linear clustering formations. The sides of the lodges are covered entirely and host the technical and washing amenities, giving it privacy from the sides. The front and back ends in the lodge host the sitting area and the bedrooms with an uninterrupted view to the outside.

The orbs structure is composed of self-bracing lightweight arch-ribbing systems that are easily deployed and undeployed. The Sail, (A Hyperboloid Tensile Structure) mounted on the orbs is a double membrane tensioned by the inner crossbows forming the four anchor points of the membrane that takes the saddle form through tension. This adaptable covering sail rotates on the two side hinges mounted on the orbs’ Arching truss system.

The orb ribs are covered with a double skin low-E, ETFE membrane. The double skin’s inner transparent membrane provides a clear view with the least reflection glare at daytime and night time. The outer layer of the skin is a fritted transparent ETFE that is opened and closed to provide additional privacy, radiation protection, and shading.