Fig: 1 -Fast-paced city life ( Credits- Dan Freeman)
In a fast-growing economy, where people don’t have a few minutes to breathe, taking care of oneself becomes very important. However, with monotony, the energy to inculcate well-being in every aspect of life seems hectic in itself. Thus, everyone needs an escape from their everyday lives to reduce stress and fatigue. A break that allows one to relax and rejuvenate can be wonderful for our well-being.
Though sometimes a conventional vacation leads to more tiredness due to contrast activities throughout the day. This has fuelled the onset of a retreat that comprises exotic travel but also peace and wellness. Furthermore, the rise in disposable income and awareness in wanting to improve on mental as well as physical health has favoured the Wellness Tourism sector.
Statistics show from 2015-107 wellness tourism has grown 6.5 percent annually, more than twice as fast as normal tourism, and this percentage is estimated to rise by 2022.
Fig: 2 – Wellness through been close with nature (Credits- Sage Friedman)
Emotional, physical, and spiritual factors play a huge role in our connection with the environment. These factors depend a lot on the constructed environments around us. Whether reducing the impact of transmission of diseases or simply providing a space for solitude, everyday buildings unconsciously shape our experiences.
The concept of wellness is multidimensional and always in a continuum. Hence, it assists people to work on themselves in numerous ways. It leads to the discovery of healthy lifestyles or just provides experiences of rejuvenation. Wellness works on strengthening our connection with our inner self and the world around us. However, these practices urge us to disconnect, to connect, to leave behind our comfort zones for a while, and experience the unknown. It pushes us to discover our potential within environments of pure nature and connection.
So, can architecture elevate wellness in such environments? Can it transcend the experience of living and healing in nature?
Fig: 3 – A healing opportunity in the vastness of the deserts (Credits Ruben Bauges)
Healing in natural environments overwhelms people with meaningful experiences and connections towards life. A desert also represents such transformative power, a power that challenges to thrive and exists in the most extreme ways. Expanses surrounded by fierce dunes and rocky landscape, life in it is alive, wild, and rebellious. Almost like resistance to social constructs, a denial to be fenced in. The nature of the desert is ethereal and practically psychedelic. The thriving life in the extremes enables healing in most personal ways.
Brief: The aim is to design a wellness retreat in an extreme environment of a desert.
The design can incorporate different aspects of wellness. Design to create a therapeutic and immersive experience for the users. The participants need to incorporate six realms of wellness in their design; Occupational, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical, and social.
Balance: Create a sustainable balance of the existing landscape and the built space.
Form and Materiality: The form and materials should be climatically aware and in the local context.
Resilient: The design should be strong enough to prevent the harshness of the desert.
Safety: The design should ensure the visitors a secure and comfortable environment.
The retreat is expected to be planned in all aspects of how humans can be sensitized to living with nature. The above objectives can be a point of beginning to conceive this design.
The Libyan Desert is the north-eastern portion of the Sahara, extending through southwestern Egypt into the extreme northwest of Sudan.
The desert’s bare rocky plateaus and stony and sandy plains are harsh, arid, inhospitable. Its climatic conditions vary due to the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert making it the right spot for enabling healing.
Site Area: 4123 sq.m
Height restriction: 10 metres
Maximum Built Up Area: 4123 sq.m
Ground coverage: 40%
Coordinates: 24°04'23.6"N 10°49'22.0"E