WATG develops master plan for Egyptian resort that aims to be largest in the world
Is Egypt taking a page from Dubai’s playbook and building with mega-resort cities? Here's one example as, Irvine, Calif.-based firm Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo (WATG) has completed the master plan for the Sahl Hasheesh International Resort Community – Phase III, a large mixed-use development on the Red Sea.
The 4,090-hectare (10,105 acres) site in Hurghada, Egypt will feature civic centers, a new university, schools, business park, apartments and hotels. Designed for client Egyptian Resorts Company (ERC), the development is seeking to claim the title of world’s largest resort.
According to ERC, the development will be a full-fledged municipality, roughly two-thirds the size of the island of Manhattan with a year-round population.
“It was important for the client to have a development that was viable,” said Perry Brown, senior vice president of WATG, which was founded in Honolulu,Hawaii and has offices in Orlando, Seattle, London and Singapore. “This master plan was originally only a resort community, but the client envisions a development that includes appropriate civic infrastructure to support the resort development.”
Sahl Hasheesh is already home to 1,577 hotel rooms and 679 residential units, more than 4,000 hotel rooms and 2,500 residential units are expected to be added by the end of 2012 as well as a marina development, according to ERC.
WATG’s challenge was to come up with a world-class, integrated resort development that would be the largest resort destination in Egypt. Knowing that introducing a development of this scale was unprecedented in the region, the architects also sought to make sure the design includes a sound understanding of the regional context and culture.
The site is defined with circulation of open-space corridors and landscape structure that tells the rich history of Egypt. The story behind the project incorporates the metaphor of a ‘Fertile Valley’ with the primary source of life being the Grand Canal, or river flowing through the Central Valley. The landscapes will range from oasis desert landscapes to informal agricultural use, from lush semi-tropical to formal, geometric landscape experiences.
The master plan calls for 58 resort parcels organized in districts that include resort and hospitality managed facilities, hotels, serviced apartments, villas, commercial areas, retail, entertainment facilities, a golf course, sports academies, equestrian areas and other tourism-based amenities.
WATG has been involved with the project since 2008 and designed Phase II, which involved a competition among several other international design firms.