| || Barely distinguishable from the surrounding landscape of salt lakes at the oasis of Siwa at the foot of the white mountain,» the Ecolodge is a luxury hotel—even though guests have neither electricity nor air conditioning—in the arid Egyptian desert. To cope with the extreme environment, the building—which was completed in 1997—takes advantage of local techniques that have been developed over 2,500 years: walls of salt-bearing rock extracted from the beds of lakes burned by the sun, and roof, insulation, ventilation, plaster, furniture, and accessories designed and made by 150 local craftsmen using the oasis’ own resources. Economizing in the transport of materials and people minimized energy consumption, while the use of local human resources revived the region’s economy. Since the Ecolodge was built, almost 600 people make a living from the revival of interest in the architecture of Siwa.
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