Lindy Roy

South African (Cape Town, South Africa, 1963)

Okavango Delta Spa, Botswana. View of guest pod at sunset

architectural drawing | computer-generated print
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  • Okavango Delta Spa, Botswana. View of guest pod at sunset

    Lindy Roy, Okavango Delta Spa, Botswana. View of guest pod at sunset, 1997; computer-generated print, 12 in. x 10 in. (30.48 cm x 25.4 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Lindy Roy

Commissioned by the private safari company Uncharted Africa, the Okavango Delta Spa was designed for a site deep within Northern Botswana's Okavango River Delta, a stretch of water in the otherwise arid Kalahari Desert. Accessible only by small aircraft, this holistic health retreat was intended to introduce the comforts of a resort to an extreme natural environment.

Roy's project places seven open-air, thatch-roofed guest accommodations within natural clearings of the site's papyrus beds. Though secured to the delta floor, these plantlike "pods" appear to float like petals on the water's surface; their canopies spiral into the wetlands, offering protection from the elements. A small floating fiberglass unit containing a bathroom is tethered to each lodging, allowing for seasonal variations in the water level.

The guest pods are connected in pairs by a network of buoyant fiberglass-and-wood walkways that are anchored to and wrapped around islands formed from the remains of abandoned termite mounds. Fiber-optic cables are woven into the handrails, lighting the walkways by night. Two larger structures house the health spa and dining pavilion. The design's most unique feature is a crocodile-resistant lap pool, powered with outboard motors so it can be maneuvered through the delta's inlets.

12 in. x 10 in. (30.48 cm x 25.4 cm)
Acquired 2002
Collection SFMOMA
Accessions Committee Fund purchase
© Lindy Roy


architecture, architectural drawings, buildings, exterior perspectives, Botswana, Africa, Spas, visionary architecture, fantastic architecture, palms

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