New resort area in Saudi Arabia breaks ground with Desert Rock

Saudi Arabia is seeing a major development along the wadi outlook in the westernmost part of the country. The project, designed for The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), will be an expansive investment in leading tourism to the scenic and historic area.

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The award-winning company Oppenheim Architecture is behind the current installment called Desert Rock, which is part of the larger Red Sea project, which will eventually see 50 resorts, 8,000 hotel rooms and 1,000 residential houses. Desert Rock broke ground last summer and is expected to open to visitors in late 2022.

Related: Mixed blend complex aims to minimize heat increase with greens in Saudi Arabia

An illuminated structure built into a mountain.

Desert Rock is appropriately named as it is more than built from scratch. It is built into the side of a solid stone. While some may question the environmental aspects of renovating the natural structure, the company has stated that sustainability is high on its priority list. The stone removed from the mountainside will be used as a building material for interior and exterior walls and floors. Additional stones will be painted and along with existing sand used as the main building material.

An illuminated structure built into a mountain.

Processes in the building will focus on energy-efficient design elements that minimize energy consumption and aim to achieve the highest level of LEED certification. In addition to passive design techniques and energy efficient systems, the building will incorporate water reduction strategies through the harvesting of rainwater and native plants in the surrounding area.

A bright room with high ceilings and glass wall.

Chad Oppenheim, founder of Oppenheim Architecture, said: “Desert Rock is one of the most dramatic desert landscapes in the world, and therefore we would use architecture as a way to honor and respect it. By using natural materials and integrating the resort into the cliff, guests can get in physical contact with the destination and experience the stunning, natural beauty of Saudi Arabia. ”

A living room in neutral tones with an off-white sofa.

Planners want to turn the resort into a cultural destination and hire locals to educate visitors about the country’s culture and history. They also want to promote culture through art facilities. The outdoor and athletic options include a spa and fitness center, remote dining, a lagoon, hiking, dune buggies and star gazing.

A living room in neutral tones.

Desert Rock is part of phase one of the project, which will include 16 hotels with an expected completion date in 2023. The destination will include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, leisure facilities and an international airport. A 100-hectare landscaping project that estimates 15 million plants for the resorts is underway, while housing for 10,000 builders is complete and housing for a further 14,000 workers is underway.

+ Red Sea Development Company

Via Oppenheim Architecture

Pictures via the Red Sea development company

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