The Hospitality industry has evolved from primarily providing lodging accommodation to offering an ‘A la carte’ environment. In 2018, her exceptional yet simple idea for the Lining Kefraya’ Hotel won Lina Ghotmeh an opportunity to give back to her homeland through a journey of discovering herself. The challenge for her team was not only to design a temporary dwelling but also to foster an identity for the community.
Many have described Lina Ghotmeh as a ‘Humanist’ and her design approach to be one that draws inspiration from concerns of the past with a vision for the future. This brings a certain kind of freshness to her ideas and enlivens our experience while narrating a story through her structures. Let’s unfold the story that the Kefraya’ hotel holds…
The story began when the Lebanon civil war was at its peak. During these uncertain times, a passionate and courageous young visionary, Michel De Boustros decided to start his winery and succeeded in sustaining his business through immense perseverance. The Kefraya’ Hotel sits amongst the vast expanse of the Kefraya’ vineyards, spreading along the scenic Bekaa Valley.
The hotel firmly lays focus on the concept of connecting to the roots through an immersive user experience. Kefraya’ vineyards, being one of the most extensive territories under wine production, are a symbol of resilience witnessed by Canaanites’ archaeological remains. Emerging from these lush, undulating slopes of the vineyard are some earth-like projections conversing with their rich context.
Rising along its length, these projections which form the outer shell may resemble a fortress. The golden-like textures of the exteriors escort dwellers into radiating red wine-like interiors that are carved out of the mass.
Planning of the Hotel
The Lining Kefraya’ Hotel covering an area of 3400 m², develops in its length along the north-south direction, where south is the lowest point and gradually increases in height towards the north. Upon arrival, meandering pathways around landscaped courts steer us to the entrance, facing east. A reception awaits us at the summit of the plinth.
A linear corridor connecting all the spaces, i.e., the restaurant, the reception spaces, the wine cellar, the dwellings, etc., runs parallel to them, giving exceptional panoramas of the eastern part. Spaces dedicated to the hotel staff are placed north of the reception, which implies the guest devoted spaces are to its south.
The hotel is a charming single-storey structure consisting of a core with a dog-legged staircase and a single elevator that leads one to the roof. A long swimming pool sits atop the roof, staring up at the vast open sky, creating a dramatic atmosphere. The surrounding deck, inhabited by lounge furniture, offers dwellers to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.
Design of the Hotel
The robust building stands tall in its monumentality. The fortress-like walls are mostly rammed earth walls, as is observed from the mud layers on the exterior surface reinforced with the use of concrete. Punctures symbolizing excavations made through these massive walls give rise to a series of porticoes with their modular design units along the building’s length. This, coupled with elements such as vaulted ceiling, exposed mud texture and niches in solid walls give a certain raw, rugged and imposing character to the corridor.
An amalgamation of these exteriors to the delicate velvet interiors composes a beautiful symphony. The openings for rooms that glow red with natural light are recessed at a slight angle into the wall with protruding floor-to-ceiling windows. These large panes of glass unveil breathtaking views of the countryside landscape with mountains fading away in the distance. Levitating reflections of the natural stretches of the vineyards onto the façade welcoming in the heart of its spaces are sure to leave the dwellers mesmerized.
The fear and trauma in the aftermath of the war prevail even today. Besides, Lebanon has always been a major tourist destination, alongside its manifold troubles, and is often called the Switzerland of the Middle East.
The building truly exemplifies all the design principles and ideologies that reveal a new dimension in architecture and the architect herself, having grown up in a war-scarred country. It embraces an act of constructing a timeline of what was and what could be and stands as a beacon of hope for the dawn of a new era. Thus bringing to life a highly conceptualized design philosophy, building deeper connections with people, the physical environment as well as intangible presence associated with the building.
- Lina Ghotmeh – Architecture (2018). ‘Lining Kefraya’ Hotel Kefraya, Lebanon. [online]. Available at: https://www.linaghotmeh.com/en/303.html [Accessed 30 April 2021].
- Lina Ghotmeh – Architecture (2021). Biography. [online]. Available at: https://www.linaghotmeh.com/en/biography.html [Accessed 30 April 2021].
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- By Borzou Daragahi (2014). War-torn Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley is a wine country respite. [online]. (Last updated 14 September 2014). Available at: https://www.latimes.com/travel/la-trw-lebanonbekaavalley23jul07-story.html [Accessed 30 April 2021].
- By Christian Davis (2016). Kefraya’s founder Michel de Bustros, has died. [online]. (Last updated 15 August 2016). Available at: https://drinksint.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/6471/Kefraya_s_founder_Michel_de_Bustros,_has_died.html [Accessed 30 April 2021].
- By Jacques Levy-Bonvin (2003). Hotels | A Brief History. [online]. (Last updated 15 December 2003). Available at: https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4017990.html#:~:text=Or%20rather%2C%20it%20is%20a,for%20travellers%20on%20government%20business. [Accessed 30 April 2021].
- By Shivani Chaudhary (2021). Architects of Developing Nations: Lina Ghotmeh – Archeologist of the Future. [online]. (Last updated 2021). Available at: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/know-your-architects/a656-architects-of-developing-nations-lina-ghotmeh-archeologist-of-the-future/. [Accessed 30 April 2021].
- By Meghna Sanyal (2021). The Story of Creation Museum by Lina Ghotmeh: Inspired from celestial bodies. [online]. (Last updated 2021). Available at: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/case-studies/a3320-the-story-of-creation-museum-by-lina-ghotmeh-inspired-from-celestial-bodies/. [Accessed 30 April 2021].