THE MACHINE IN THE CAVE

Al-Ula





Nabatean culture understood how to interact and become part of its surrounding. A sustainable approach that conceptualized architecture embedded in its context. It was not about adding new elements to the existing, but rather curating and sculpting the landscape. The site is a canyon sandstone rock formation. Learning from Nabatean ancestral culture, the house is an act of subtraction. A subtle gesture for a contemporary cave to remind us that we are part of nature.
It is organized around a central courtyard which is cut from the upper part of the formation. It is the heart of the house, protects the interior from extreme weather conditions and directs views towards the outside; a hidden domestic atmosphere embedded into AlUl´s landscape.
The cave has several pods nested into the cuts. Stainless steel elements contain the service areas of the house, creating a new vision for living; where the primitive meets the technological.


THE WORK AS A CONCEPT

Our aim is to create a timeless atmosphere that somehow can be seen as ancient but at the same time is a speculation about what is yet to come.

A ruin from the future.

Through surprise and enchantment, the project seeks to re-activate curiosity and awareness into the day by day living. The work lays at the intersection of multiple dichotomies, raw and refined, cartesian and organic, natural and artificial… It finds its way through the intersection of art, nature and technology. Rather than finding inspiration into symbols or giving meaning to the design, the project is intended to create multiple readings, so that each one can find its own.

The house has its own autonomy, but at the same time cannot exist without the rock formation and unique landscape. Delivering a sublime event that is based on architecture, nature and technology.
The work itself should be the concept.
The work is its own language, it needs no explanation nor meaning.


STRUCUTRAL AND MATERIALIST APROACH

Mater is a key element to the project. It is embedded into the conceptual approach of the house.
Structurally the cave is shaped with dome subtractions that carry the loads of the sandstone cuts.
The result is guided by the intelligence of the material; in this case the solid sandstone, which then informs a structural, formal and ornamental outcome.  



































Location: Al-Ula, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Structure: Excavated limestone
Type: Architects in Residence — 100 Architects for 100 Houses invited design competition, winner, Organized by Royal Commission of Al-Ula & Malcolm Reading Consultants
Team: Fernando Gomez, Benjamin Caballero, Isaac Michan Daniel,
Status: In progress
Size: 500 sqm
Year: 2021

Mark