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Dérive Ecovillage: Qulaan - The Paramount Shoreline in Marsa Alam

Part 1 Project 2020
Nicole Ghattas
German University in Cairo | Egypt
Qulaan Mangrove beach/village is part of a natural preserve - Wadi ElGemal - at the Red Sea, Egypt. The beach is rich of Mangrove trees and is a stopover for exotic migrating birds; nevertheless, is failing to attract tourists. Therefore, (over)fishing is the main source of income for the locals, which may result in unbalanced ecosystem.

To redesign the village to attract responsible tourism, preserve biodiversity; and thus, help generate sustainable income for the Bedouins; three main pillars governed the design concept, namely the Bedouin culture/identity, the environment/climate, and tourism needs.

A main spine, conceived from the Bedouin navigation methods (stars constellation), was adopted to link the project different zones. These zones respected the Bedouin strict culture of gender separation in the daily activities and provided privacy for the Bedouins’ housing units. Nevertheless, intermediate zones were also provided to allow tourists/visitors to interact and socialize with the Bedouins of both genders. These included the beach tent to enjoy local coffee, the restaurant to enjoy local meals, the handicrafts centre/workshop, and kids’ area. The orientation/architecture of the different facilities was governed by the culture, sun/wind, and mangrove/lagoon view to respect culture, achieve thermal comfort, and enjoy serenity of the site, respectively.

Nicole Ghattas


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