This Awesome, Undulating Golf Clubhouse Makes Waves in the Architecture World

Oppenheim Architecture created a sprawling clubhouse for a Greg Norman–designed golf course in Jordan that elicits the spirit of an ancient Arabian port city.

Situated in the desert foothills, a lush mountain range that circles the sapphire gulf of the Red Sea, the Ayla Golf Academy and Clubhouse rises as an to homage the ancient city of Aqaba, Jordan, which has been inhabited since 4,000 B.C. Oppenheim Architecture designed the building as part of a 17-square-mile development centered around an 18-hole golf course designed by the Australian pro golfer Greg Norman. The 40,000-square-foot structure soars and dips to create cool, cavelike domains that house retail, dining, and practice spaces, among other accommodations. Using materials like local stone and clay, the structure’s concrete shell blends into the desert landscape while its wavelike form reflects the area’s rolling dunes and the surrounding sea. Like all Oppenheim’s projects, the Ayla is designed with function (shade, serenity, flow) in mind, and is imbued with the spirit of its location, with design elements inspired by ancient Bedouin traditions. This blend of harmony and ingenuity earned the project multiple awards, including including accolades from the Architizer A+ Awards, World Architecture Festival, and International Property Awards.

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A view of the entrance to the structure.
The patterns are inspired by the mashrabiya, a latticework element used in traditional Jordanian and Arabic architecture for shade and privacy. (Photo: Moh’d Musa)
Gates made from corten steel with triangular openings recall traditional Jordanian patterns. (Photo: Moh’d Musa)
An interior and detail shot of the the project. (Photo: Moh’d Musa)
An overhead exterior view of the clubhouse shell. (Photo: Moh’d Musa)
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