With tourism in Morocco essentially doubling over the course of the last decade, luxury hotelier Ritz-Carlton recruited international architecture and design firm WATG to help create the Tamuda Bay resort, an "environmentally sensitive and culturally relevant destination," according to Kevin Scholl, WATG senior vice president and principal in charge of the project.
Located on the Mediterranean Sea and adjacent to a wetland with migratory
birds, the project's environmental impact was a focal point for the team. A majority of the resort's buildings are located on elevated areas of the site to preserve the wetlands, while indigenous plants have been selected for the landscaping to encourage natural bio-diversity. Overhangs and shading devices are used to protect exterior windows, controlled natural lighting inside reduces the need for artificial lighting, and the incorporation of natural
ventilation onsite reduces dependency on cooling systems.
The team from WATG also sourced many design materials locally, not only to lend a feeling of authenticity to the space but to also reduce transportation impacts on the environment.
"The design of the resort is strongly influenced by the region, and the team made a great effort to seamlessly integrate the property into the existing fabric of Tamuda Bay," says Rachel Johnson, WATG senior associate and director of interiors, London. "Rather than imposing materials that do not suit the environment, the design team is using local materials from readily available craftsmen that have proven their durability to the local climate throughout the years."
The completed Ritz-Carlton Tamuda Bay will feature 100 rooms, 140 golf and hillside villas with a residents club, 80 marina apartments, a beach club and an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course. It is scheduled to open in 2012. For more information, go to www.watg.com.