DESERT PARADOX: MOROCCAN ECO-TOURISM LODGE

Fadi Masoud and Matthew Spremulli


The need to rebuild a damaged dam at the terminus of Oud Ziz in Moroccos’ Sahara is an opportunity to couple this infrastructure with economically productive and ecologically performative public and occupiable space. The new dam and golf course would find ways to resuscitate water, recycle it, and store it, rather than just hold it and consume it; All the while protecting a fragile and unique desert habitat. The structure would be built by re-adopting local traditions of adobe bricks, but use new technology to re-orient them to maximize climatic conditions.


The leakage created an accidental dynamic wetland ecosystem. Migratory wild life flock here, and ground water recharge takes place. However, there is an uncontrolled loss of water that could be used for irrigation and domestic use. The project creates a new controlled flooding system based on water levels in the reservoirs and resuscitates wetlands through grey water-recycling.


Flexibility and multiplicity of programs, flows, and events means that the site of the dam becoming an eco-lodge and river wetland golf course preserves natural areas and the inherent qualities of the landscape. This project in a wet desert presents itself as a monumental and iconic structure but also one that is contextually appropriate and ecologically responsive. Constant occupation means an ongoing system of monitoring, and so it becomes a profitable and prototypical condition of underutilized infrastructures in the desert.