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                  "LES JARDINS SECRETS"

              "THE SECRET GARDENS"

By: Yves Ghiai, Architect



Heydar Ghiai, Architect

Note: This is a fascinating project by an extremely talented Iranian, we wish him the very best
With many thanks to Yves for sharing this with us

When in 1996, I was approached buy a Dutch billionaire residing in Switzerland to design an exclusive resort hotel and retreat, my mind could not escape my father’s quote about the “Magic Wand”.   I therefore engaged in searching for the Essence of Persian Mysticism and applying it to this extraordinary project located by Lake Geneva near Lausanne.

My client thought I was being poetic, whereas in fact, I was being Persian. The following text and images illustrate how we can infuse our culture without the superficial and simplistic copying of traditional decorative elements. It also aims at proving that one can be futuristic and yet preserving ones roots at the same time.


The project consists of a main hotel, a shopping arcade, 20 pavilions, a tennis club, a business center with auditorium, a rejuvenation clinic, a balneotherapy center an outdoor cinema with amphitheater, and an equestrian center.   All of which are disposed in the shape of flowers branching off of the main hotel.



A five star luxury hotel, which includes 30 suites, an indoor pool and a shopping arcade. The building is toped by an enormous retractable double roof made of special glass panels treated with photovoltaic cells that capture solar energy.

The indoor underground pool has a glass roof leveled with the floor of the lobby The shopping arcade is in the shape of a flower branching off of the reception area through a translucent tubular corridor.

Various similar tubes branch out of the hotel to reach other flower shaped structures such as the pavilions and the business center.   Looking towards the garden, the main structure is supported by a series of columns reminiscent of the palace of “ Tchehel Sotun” thereby creating the very Persian feeling of “ Birouni-Andarouni” and the use of porches “Eivans”. Furthermore, the main glass roof is in the shape of the letter “Aleph” symbolizing the start or the beginning.

The building has a central patio as in many ancient Persian palaces and is open to the garden on all four sides reminiscent of the “Tchahar Bagh” architectural themes.

The underground pool with glass roofing is a symbol of the Sun as portrayed on Zoroastrian symbols and the globe shaped fountain of the circular entry symbolizes the Earth.



The resort contains 11 flower shaped elements all connected to the main building by translucent tubular corridors, thereby allowing the guests to experience the garden while being protected from the weather. Those transparent passages are wide enough to allow for both pedestrian and electric cart passage.

The suites pavilions, reminiscent of the roses of Isphahan, are so designed that branches of them could be closed off for special high level political guests desirous of having any number of “flowers” at their disposal. Each flower contains 5 “petals” or suites with a central foyer with fountains much like old “Ghajar” houses in Teheran.

The other pavilions comprise of the tennis club, the shopping arcade, the auditorium and the business center.   The auditorium and business center’s design have been inspired by the “bird of paradise” flower. The curved roofs of the pavilions as well as those of the corridors have been inspired by the elegant Persian “nastaaligh” style of calligraphy.



This pool complex contains a giant exterior pool, an outdoor performing arts center with amphitheater and an indoor underground rejuvenation clinic. A giant half moon shaped canopy overhangs over the circular pool symbolizing the Moon completes the Trilogy of Earth, Sun and Moon as do Mystic symbols of old Persia.



Comprised of an indoor arena, an outdoor arena, lodging for the horses and a dressage ring. The whole structure is shaped in the form of a jumping horse as seen from the side. As seen in a real view, the circle of the dressage ring symbolizes the horse’s head, the outdoor arena its neck , and the indoor complex, its body.



The launching of the Secret Gardens Resort was made during a grand ceremony at the San Francisco Yacht club.   Leading Swiss and American corporate leaders were present and Mayor Willie L. Brown of San Francisco issued A special proclamation declaring October 26th, the  Heydar Ghiai & Sons Day in San Francisco.

Likewise the President of the Swiss Federation, Mr. Delamuraz issued an official congratulatory statement regarding the project.

Construction on the complex is scheduled to start in 2003 and to complete in 2006.

“The Secret Gardens” is destined to be the world’s most exclusive retreat while hosting high level political and economic forums in the most secured and private setting.