The concrete skeletons of five-star hotel complexes tower up like a mirage before a backdrop of azure skies, photographed in their abandoned state by the artist duo Haubitz+Zoche between 2002 and 2005 in the desert on the Egyptian Sinai Peninsular.
Their envisaged splendour is witnessed alone by their alluring names: Sultan’s Palace, Sindbad, Sunestra or the Magic Life Imperial — names that promise a combination of blissful holidays and Oriental flair.
I've been along there, and had the chance to witness some of these hotels; they're truly bizarre architectural forms, finished or not. As terrorism, bad investments, dwindling tourism and various other problems caused them (and the Sinai tourism sector) to slow down, these buildings just stand there, eerily waiting for the next stage of development. As I was on the bus coming in, the whole peninsula is dotted with these weird hotels. The whole coastline was bought up in a short amount of time, thus most of the buildings were built around the same time giving them all a similar flavour, but huge variations on the theme.
Not all are concrete wonderlands though. The best part is staying in the reed huts and chilling on the beach. Unfortunately, they too sit empty most of the time, great if you want some quiet and privacy, bad if you're a bedouin who relies on tourism for your income. I had a chance to walk up and down where the huts are, and frantically took as many photo's as I could as my camera ran out of batteries. They're all up on my flickr, but I might devote a post to it, come a short news day.
From what I can tell, I've walked around this one, and took a few photos and video while I was there, scared shitless that Egyptian cops were coming to take me away for trespassing. The silence, both auditory and visually, didn't help things either. The above two photos are from the exhibition, while the other three are mine.
I've put my excursion up on flickr for anyone who wants a closer look. And I found a reason to put some video on flickr as well. If you want to see some really bad quality video of the above, just press play.
Colophon: Found this exhibition through BLDG BLOG, articulate as ever. The Vienna Architekturzentrum also have an exhibition titled 'The White City of Tel Aviv'. Tel Aviv having the highest density of Bauhaus designed and inspired buildings in the world, which I also have some photos of while I was there