There is a very small place where Star Wars fans and architecture lovers meet: Tunisia. Tunisia’s desert was the backdrop for three Star Wars movies and the sets built were once huge tourist attractions. The Hotel du Lac in Tunis was not a filming location, but it is said to have caught the eye of George Lucas and inspired him for the design of the Sandcrawler vehicles used by the Jawas of Tatooine.
The hotel, designed by Raffaele Contigiani and built in 1973, is shaped like an upside-down pyramid with jagged edges. A fine example of Brutalist architecture that, indeed, bears a striking resemblance with the saga’s Sandcrawlers.
The hotel closed in 2000 and has been empty since. It was later sold to a foreign investment company that planned to tear the building down and replace it with a luxury hotel. Although nothing happened for eight years, in February, architect Sami Aloulou of Tunisian architectural conservation group Edifices et Memoires, announced on Misk radio that the building was facing imminent demolition.
Sahbi Gorgy, an architect who is working on the plans for a new building, told the BBC that the structure was weakened and that it would cost more to restore it than tear it down and build something new.
🆘 Demolition of the legendary Hôtel du Lac appears to be imminent! 🆘
There is a petition to stop the plans here:https://t.co/BX3Crj7xU5
— #SOSBrutalism (@SOSBrutalism) February 26, 2019
There are several campaigns online to keep the building standing and restore it. The building has been submitted to the World Monument Fund for protection, a petition is available, and you can support Edifice and Memoire.
H/T: Lonely Planet