The design proposal by Najjar-Najjar Architects for the Zaarour Club Project intends to combine a year-round destination for mountain lovers in Lebanon with the requirements for a sustainable development in Zaarour. In this regard, the architects believe that it is most important to balance the development of real estate with attractions and activities in a healthy environment. The concept considers different functions and facilities in order to attract diverse users groups of all ages during the year.
Indeed, Najjar-Najjar Architects proposal won Zaarour Club Competition. The jury composed by Ole Bouman, Vladimir Djurovic, Vincent James, Samer Maamari and Nader Tehrani commented “The jury felt that the firm’s scheme was the strongest in producing the Client’s need to create a magnetic architectural image that would raise Zaarour as a destination of choice as a prime mountain and ski resort…”
The design proposal of the master plan intends to combine a year-around destination for mountain lovers in Lebanon with the requirements for a sustainable development in Zaarour. In this regard the proposal aims to balance the development of real estate with attractions and activities in a healthy environment.
The concept considers different functions and facilities in order to attract diverse users groups of all ages during the year. Hence it introduces different building typologies that incubate different activities.
The road adjacent to the ski slopes was moved further north in order to connect the hotel and parking structure seamlessly with the ski slopes, providing comfortable accessibility.
The Hotel provides 70 rooms, 11 suites and 2 presidential suites with panoramic views of the ski slopes, the Sanin Mountain, and the Mediterranean. The bungalows to the west of the Hotel have direct covered access to the hotel and can be served effectively from the Hotel’s facilities. A small, elitist ski club with its own terrace is situated on top of the Hotel with a direct elevator to the spa area. The spa, the restaurant and conference area are built into the hill overlooking the hotel garden and the landscape beyond. Further east, the gear shop, ticketing area and a ski restaurant serve the daily visitors.
The village on the lot opposite to the slopes is directly accessible from the parking structure and the Hotel. In the pedestrian area the visitors can enjoy gastronomic and shopping facilities year-around with après ski in winter and the possibility to escape the costal heat in summer. In addition, a seasonal market could open on the piazza where local agricultural and artisanal goods are offered on distinctive days during the week. On the upper levels of the retail spaces there are small studios that accommodate short-term visitors and hotel staff, further populating the pedestrian zone. The pedestrian zone is surrounded by the Chalets with direct access to it.
The Cube Hotel’s concept is a combination of sport, entertainment, design and community, making it a popular destination for all young-at-heart active vacationers. The Cube stands for open-minded community and 24-hour entertainment. A diverse sports program, offering the latest trends in addition to more classic disciplines, summer and winter, rounds off the innovative vacation concept. Cube places emphasis on community and events – life takes place outside the rooms.
The Cube is situated adjacent to the ski base station on C3 and can be easily accessed through a tunnel from its outdoor activity platform.
The Lake caters to bigger events like concerts and weddings that take place on the open platform that is accessed through a green promenade outlining the lake. A wide-spanned roof structure is integrated in the topography. On one side the roof cantilevers towards the village and hotel, inviting the pedestrians to enter the platform, on the other side it forms a ramp to exit the area.
The Chalets are mostly double houses on two levels with about 100m2 and 2-3 Bedrooms each. Various types of chalets were developed in order to diversify the architecture.
The chalets are terraced, providing downhill views towards the Mediterranean. In areas that have no view they are grouped around gardens and ponds.
The idea for the landscaping of the resort builds on the natural and cultural identity of the place. The aim is to integrate the built environment into the surrounding landscape by establishing strong connections within and towards the resort.
The agricultural identity of the mountain is integrated through the creation and revival of the traditional terrace systems. At the same time meandering forest plantations weave through the entire area following the course of the water and build on already existing green environment. Large patches of green evolve from the lake towards the Village, the Hotel and the slopes, while the Cube and adjacent Chalets are embedded into a flow of terraces with fruit trees and larger deciduous trees around the central creek.
A system of trails connect to the Lebanon Mountain trail via Sannine and Beskinta, the adjacent cliff overlooking the valley, and the summit of Zaarour with views into the Beqaa valley. A trail system within the resort connects the existing springs with each other and leads through the different landscape types, providing resting and viewpoints.
Smaller and more intimate gardens with play areas and seating opportunities are adjacent to the Chalets and create a green system within the built structures.
The chosen tree species are indigenous to the region and provide a variety of seasonal aspects, from fast growing deciduous trees to slow and sturdy species like local oaks and Lebanese cedars.