Uniquely designed resort bags GCC Hospitality and Leisure Project of the Year honour at 5th annual Middle East Architect Awards
The awards, which were attended by the most creative and reputed designers, architects, engineers and organisations from across the GCC region, divided nominees into 13 categories, including Architecture Firm of the Year, Engineer of the Year, Public Sector, Institutional and Cultural Project of the Year. On the occasion H.E Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Shurooq's CEO, said, "Godwin Austen Johnson architects (GAJ) put a tremendous amount of research and hard work into the designing and development of The Chedi Khorfakkan Resort, which is evident even at this stage of the project development. What makes the resort stand out is its highly original and intelligent design which merges the natural surrounding elements of the mountains with modern-day amenities, to produce a unique blend and feel of luxurious comfort, nature and a cultural ambience." The resort, envisioned to see completion in 2015, is located at the base of mountains at a secluded sandy bay, with a breath-taking view of the sea and Shark Island. The design draws inspiration from historical references in similar hillside settings. The project's placement has been engineered in such a way so as to minimise the need to cut the natural rock. The Chedi Khorfakkan Resort is being built using local materials to emphasise and complement the natural contours of the land and the indigenous features of the desert. GAJ Associate Partner Ignacio Gomez, commented, "A truly successful project is impossible without a supportive client and Shurooq have assisted us in every way. They provided us with an excellent site, which was a challenge as well as an opportunity to experiment with new forms of design, never tried before. They supported our design proposals and helped the project by appointing the best hotel operators "General Hotel Management" (GHM), for this project. The Chedi Khorfakkan Resort, in reality, is the manifestation of Shurooq's vision for Sharjah, and their commitment to deliver the best." The Chedi Khorfakkan Resort, is unique in that interlinks two concepts - a Fort, which will be open to the public and a 106-suite resort for guests. With its ideal location on Al Suwifa Mountain, beside a private cove with a white sandy beach, the five-star resort is inspired by the region's traditional architecture and way of life. Only an hour's drive from Sharjah, The Chedi Khorfakkan Resort offers the perfect getaway for those seeking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, while offering water sports, outdoor activities and a kids club for those wishing to engage with the environment. The resort was selected as the perfect choice for the award by a panel of six judges - a cross section of architects, academicians and engineers. One of the panelists, Theirry Paret, president of the American Institute of Architects, Middle East, defined the resort as, "A masterpiece, which combines convention with invention. Architects have managed to use all the technology available, to turn a highly complex site with a difficult terrain, into a beautiful top-end resort, with an eye for detail" The growing awareness with regards the Middle East Architect Awards is notable especially in view of an increase in participation of around 33 per cent from last year. While the awareness demonstrates that the event is growing year by year, the sheer volume also hints that more projects have been launched and completed in the past 12 months and firms are proud of their achievements. The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) conducted the study focusing on four key sectors, including healthcare, travel and leisure, logistics, transportation and environment, thus offering investors a sector guide into Sharjah's significant business potential and investment opportunities. Shurooq was established in 2009 with the aim of achieving social, cultural, environmental and economic development on the basis of Sharjah's distinct Arab and Islamic identity, and to encourage investment by adopting the best international standards in providing quality services that help attract investors from the region and around the world. Shurooq's key mission is to provide facilities and incentives to help overcome obstacles facing investment activities in the emirate, evaluate tourism and investment related infrastructure projects, and lay down the necessary plans to complete such projects.