Egypt – Seeking to reclaim and celebrate local culture as a push-back against homogenised tourism, The Gouna Festival Plaza is an architectural landmark created for the people of El Gouna, a Red Sea resort town in Egypt.
Designed by Studio Seilern Architects, the plaza is the tallest building in the town, and a powerful signifier of the region’s history. The columns, which have been made using glass-reinforced concrete, draw on ancient Egyptian architecture to provide shelter from the sun and wind. The structure will be a public space for weddings, concerts, conferences and sporting events. ‘The idea was to give El Gouna a cultural venue that would unify the town in a strong urban gesture, and give it a new point of focus with a captivating cultural venue,’ explains Christina Seilern, principal of Studio Seilern Architects.
While resort towns have often minimised their cultural differences to make global visitors feel more comfortable, this plaza points to a more thoughtful future of hospitality architecture and public spaces, and the lasting impact that such buildings can have on landscapes and local communities, something we have explored in Biomimicry Hotels.
Resorts and hotels should empower local cultures and communities instead of erasing them. Consider implementing discreet design that does not intrude on indigenous settings