Vienna’s Architekturzentrum will be hosting a new photography show, opening this Wednesday, April 24, called Sinai Hotels.
With images by Sabine Haubitz and Stefanie Zoche of Haubitz+Zoche, the show looks at “the concrete skeletons of five-star hotel complexes” abandoned on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
They are resorts that never quite happened, then, with names like Sultan’s Palace and the Magic Life Imperial. This makes them “monuments to failed investment.”
The hotels now look more like “architectonic sculptures” in the desert, the photographers claim, or derelict abstractions, as if some aging and half-crazed billionaire had constructed an eccentric sculpture park for himself amongst the dunes.
The billionaire goes for long walks at night alone amongst the ruins, sweeping dust from recent sandstorms off windowsills and open doorways.
At night, when the stars come out, different constellations are framed by unglazed windows, as if justifying these concrete forms from above with the poetic force of celestial geometry.
Or, for that matter, five years from now these deserted monuments simply disappear – but because they’ve been put to use, finally, enwrapped with drywall and plaster, fitted out with drapes and marble floors, and you can sleep inside them for $300 a night, never even dreaming that these hotels were once ruins, temporarily abandoned to the sand and only recently reclaimed.
The empty swimming pool is now full – and you dive into it, unaware that you’re more like a ghost than a tourist, haunting the afterlife of these sites in bleaching sunlight.