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Sossusvlie Desert Lodge : A Sustainable Lodge in Namib Desert

Home Architecture Sossusvlie Desert Lodge : A Sustainable Lodge in Namib Desert
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Shreya Jindal
Shreya Jindal is an Architecture student from MBS school of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. She has an avid interest in learning about new advances and innovations in the field. According to her, Architecture is a lot about understanding the psychology of the built form and the people and surroundings around it. She has tried her best to reflect the same in her writings and is hopeful that readers will be inspired by how architecture has evolved.
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Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, contemporary yet timeless architecture designed in the middle of Namib Desert. An existing building from the 1990’s has been refurbished by Fox Browne Creative in partnership with Ar. Jack Alexander into an incredible natural hotel experience. The design embraces the natural colors and topography of the desert which fuses beautifully with the surrounding landscapes. Architectural features comprise of series of geometrical patterns constructed from glass, steel, and rock which stands out with organic curves and forms of the sand dunes and surrounding rocky hills. The lodge offers an extraordinary experience for the guests with desert-inspired luxury.

Sourcing local building material was the primary concern, considering the construction was to be done in an ecologically sensitive environment. So there was an alarming need to eliminate carbon footprints from the construction as much as possible. Preventive measures were a priority to maintain the beauty of the Namib Desert in South-West Africa.

The thickness and mass of the battered stone wall provides solar insulation during the day, while it radiates heat during cold nights. Rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling and a strategically placed well in the north help to maintain the water table. The design is boundary-free and all the built structures seem like it’s emerging out of the desert because of its natural landscaping.

All the appliance and lighting used are energy-efficient, skylights are provided in each room for the beautiful desert sky gazing. The rooms are circularly modeled after naturally occurring fairy circles. These are the patches of land that are devoid of any vegetation and these can be stretched up to the diameter of 5m. These kinds of circles occur throughout the desert plains.

The design has resulted in a refreshed, sustainable version of its former two-decades-old structure. It incorporates top environmentally friendly technology that features self-powered suites. The original elements of the design have been reworked with additions such as private pool, outdoor showers, skylights for in-bed stargazing, butler hatches, floor to ceiling sliding doors. Pools dimensions and glass doors have been carefully calculated to maintain the consumption in the design.

Externally, the roofs have been cladded with photovoltaic panels to make use of a harsh desert environment where the temperature often reaches 50 degrees Celsius. The sun creates enough energy to ensure the lodge is entirely self- sustainable. The energy generated is used to power air conditioning and water recycling systems.

The interior is minimal yet desert chic, taking their inspiration from the sparse, dusty landscape. Natural materials like wool, sisal rugs, basket ware accessories, bespoke timber, linen and leather furniture and details like clay pod pendant lighting are inspired by local weaverbird’s nests.

The main guest hub is now a central geometric showpiece with a sharp rustic steel roof that acts as a beautiful sunshade over the open planned spaces. These spaces are supported by an angular grey granite island bar which is the best spot for drinking and dining on the terrace as pastel colors sets in the sky with the fading sun.

Apart from luxury living, the lodge also offers diversions focused on the incredible surroundings like climbing the dunes, quad biking, hiking or pedaling on e-bikes through the desert. For more adventurers, there is air ballooning, stargazing sessions, helicopter rides, desert rides.

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