Eco – lodge – Judean Desert, Israel

Location: Judean Desert, Israel

Land: 30000 sqm

Structure: 2500 sqm

Design: 2004

Program: Eco – Lodge

The project is an idea for a desert eco-lodge on the eastern slopes of the city Arad, overlooking Biq’at Qanna’im on the route between Arad and Masada. The chosen area is in fact a groove in the topography of the desert area, in order to create an inner world protected from the harsh desert climate, and also in order to reduce damage to the environment. The construction is a desert construction, using unique building methods for the desert, where the eco-lodge structures are partly embedded within the sides of the valley in the rock, like a cave, and some are walls built of mud bricks, combined with local rock stones, as was the custom among the cultures who settles in the desert, in ancient times. Local materials were used to reduce the transport of materials to the area, to reduce the introduction of foreign materials into the local environment, to have better assimilation and camouflage of the buildings, and to reduce their impact on the area.
In the center of the valley there is a natural channel where rainwater can be collected, and with the right maintenance they can also be preserved for the benefit of hotel activities, bathing and irrigation. The climatic conditions following the topography combined with the water, created conditions for a fertile area in local flora. Just as the topography as well as the plan of buildings are built on principles of interiority, roots, and culture, so too is the idea behind the activities in the place. The guest goes through an experience that has added value, beyond the existing indulgences in the familiar hotels. Such a tourist event caters to a number of segments in the tourism market. One segment called ECO-TOURISM, where tourists come from all over the world to experience diverse eco-lodges.
This market is growing, and the search for different and more empowering experiences is intensifying, both in the local-Israeli market and among Jews living in the Diaspora and seeking closeness to the source. Guests who come to the source some for a period of several days, in order to experience an inner, mental, and physical experience alike. There is an interaction between the hotel guests in the various activities and shared experiences, which strengthen the connection between the guests and unity: desert trips following nature and culture, various lessons for the development of self-awareness according to the spirit of Jewish culture, physical treatments in the spa, yoga, meditation, learning technologies and actions for desert preservation and sustainability, medicine from local vegetation, desert cooking, etc. the importance of the desert and its symbolism, both as an empty, desolate, and detached place, and in terms of its geographical and cultural location that emerged from it, the land, its origin is the desert generation. The desert is a place where the people of Israel received their purpose, it is the “source”. And indeed, “Source” is the name of this project. Guests come not only to the indulgences of desert spa, quality local food, and detachment of desert tranquility from the routine, but also for a vacation experience that guests come out of with added value, both in terms of desert nature and in terms of the origin of the Israeli folk, the culture that grew in the desert, different from other cultures, a culture of people that is always at the center of attention, for better of worse. The source is a place used as a connecting pipe. Not only to ourselves and or inwardness, but also to others who want and are curious to know and learn about the origin of our being as a people. In the source, the way is through connection. Sometimes, when there is no TV and mobiles, we find out that once people sat around a campfire at night.


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