June 4, 2022 D34n0

LUXURY TENSILE GUEST LODGE DUMA TAU

AN ULTRA LUXURY TENSILE GUEST LODGE EXPERIENCE IN THE OKAVANGO

WHERE LUXURY TENSILE ENGINEERING AND ARCHITECTURE MEET

The scenery around the Linyanti swamp system where DumaTau is situated is littered with elephant corridors and a host of aquatic apex predators (and their prey) which inhabit the intricate network of waterways of is wilderness site. These various elements all conspired to make the luxury tensile guest lodge at DumaTau one of the most challenging projects the THS team has ever undertaken. The result is a modern benchmark of luxury tensile architecture, but the journey to get there is a story all its own.

DumaTau was one of the first Tenthouse Structures’ projects to require the marriage of tensile engineering and modern lodge architecture. It helped us to pioneer our integrated design-engineering approach to tented camps–ensuring the safety and quality of our high-performance tented units–while providing the iconic signature style of our ultra-luxury bush camps. In short, DumaTau was a valuable lesson in the needs and dictates of building in the wildest of untamed environments.

OF CROCODILES AND ARCHITECTURAL TEXTILES

From the outset the project was incredibly challenging. Wilderness Safaris–the camp operator wanted to move their entire original camp site 500 meters (1640ft) downstream. The original camp had used traditional thatched roofing systems, alongside brick and mortar structures, which were not congruent with the operators’ need for an environmentally sensitive tented camp solution–a complete rebuild and new vision was required for DumaTau.

Starting from a 2D sketch of a camp footprint, THS’s design team nurtured and nudged the concept into the unmistakable peaked design camp you see at DumaTau today. The new camp evolved to become an intensely detailed development, built up from to-scale test models, numerous fabric performance tests, complex interface detailing, and the development of highly specialized fittings that offer high-performance functionality as well as stunning good looks.

Botswana’s Okavango Delta is one of the most environmentally sensitive UNESCO World Heritage sites you can find. Construction in a world heritage region such as this comes with lashings of regulations and atypical asks of any development team. Add this to a river full of crocodiles, hippos, and other wildlife and you have a perfect storm of construction complications to navigate.

Local regulations for this site require that all structures must be demountable to limit their environmental impact potential, which is where the modular intelligence and modular systems of Tenthouse Structures’ kit-form assemblies truly come into their own. Pre-designed to an on-site precision fit allows the team to rapidly erect and strike the structure as may be required. But this is by no means a rough-and-ready assembly. The quality of materials and high-performance values built into THS’s design-engineered approach ensure that the highest standards of comfort, luxury, and guest experience are maintained throughout.

 

INTERNATIONAL EXPERTISE IN A LUXURY TENSILE GUEST LODGE EXPERIENCE

French manufacturer Serge Ferrari was contracted to create extremely high-quality, pre-stressed tensile fabrics for the membranes. Essential to this membrane is that it retains its dimensional stability across its lifetime and thus never loses its shape after fitment. These membranes are matte-finished and textured to ensure a natural touch to the tents. Although this tensile fabric principally provides a structural function it also provides exceptional cover from the elements–negating the need for heavy timbers or support beams–allowing the lightweight support engineering developed by THS to take center stage. These support structures and lightweight membranes are compact and easy to transport, which reduces both logistical challenges as well as building costs, particularly for camps such as this–located in extremely remote locations.

Some of the unique attractions at the DumaTau luxury tensile guest lodge are the floating-deck observation points. Principal among these is the “fire deck” which is one of the few places guests get to experience the entire Okavango sunset at DumaTau. The fire deck structure was the first of its kind for the THS team, and a uniquely challenging structure to create. The team was required to work knee-deep in the crocodile-, and hippo-infested waters of the Linyanti River as they assembled this signature design element. It remains something of a testament to the THS team’s commitment and a matter of professional pride in the studio to this day.

The DumaTau luxury tensile guest lodge project proved to be something of a trial-by-fire for the THS luxury tensile architecture design-engineering approach to camp development. It served as a catalyst to evolve the team’s approach as well as their ability to deliver reliable service under duress, on time, and within budget. Since DumaTau, THS has extended its range and scope of remote luxury tensile architecture projects to offer flexible layered solutions–from high-tech fabric roofing systems to complete turnkey camp design and supply.

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Stay Connected.

Please reach out to us for more information
about any of our #madeforthewild products or services.

Cape Town Office

18 Natal Street
Paarden Eiland
Cape Town, 7405
South Africa

+27 (0)21 461 2974

Email us

Singapore Office

3 Phillip Street #14-05
Royal Group Building
Singapore, 048693
Republic of Singapore

+65 3159 5300

Email us
Contact

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