Case Study: O Beach
Situated on the banks of the Dead Sea, and designed by Lebanese designers GM Architects, O Beach is located 55km from Amman and serves tourists and residents from the capital.
It is the latest in a number of luxury projects by GM Architects, which recently designed Lebanon’s Edde Sands and Knotica Island in Dubai. The Dead Sea beach club is the first offering in the O Beach brand, with more properties scheduled to open soon.
The 33,000m2 site is a narrow, long and steep, with an incline of 50 metres sloping down towards the sea. Architect Galal Mahmoud said that the incline was a major challenge.
“Walking up 50 metres is like 10 floors of a building, so we had to do it in a way that people don’t feel they’re walking up that much.”
GM Architects used steps to stagger the multi-level site, with a series of ‘stops’ including cafes and shops.
“There is always something happening to distract you from the fact that you’re going up 50 metres,” he said.
“We wanted to create a luxurious beach club atmosphere on this very odd type of land,” said Mahmoud, who designed the site with partners Anwar El Hajj and Randa Chahine.
“People have nowhere to go for the day, unless they go to existing hotels. But hotels manage hotels, they don’t really manage beach resorts. It was about creating a destination where everyone is catered to – single people who want to party, families, and those who want their own private space.”
While difficult, the site offered exquisite natural scenery and views. “It’s got this biblical type of view,” said Mahmoud.
“The scenery is quite amazing. It’s very relaxing and soothing when you get there; the sea is like a huge lake and you can see mountains on the other side.” The design ensures that customers can enjoy the view wherever they are on the resort “Every single component of the project has a direct sea view, so this was the main focus,” he said.
Natural, locally-sourced building materials were used throughout the project. “We’ve recycled a lot of locally-sourced wood as well, mainly old telephone poles and thin bamboo strips that we used to build the pergolas and shading structures.”