Let’s start with what the Red Sea Project is. This is a luxury tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, which has revealed plans for the main hub destination, which will be known as the Coral Bloom. This was designed by Foster + Partners to blend in with (and protect) the islands pristine natural environment.
This will begin with considerations of biodiversity being center state and the design will avoid disruption of the island’s mangroves and other habitats along with other habitats being introduced for enhancement.
The proposal, as this project is in its infancy stage, outlines designs for 11 hotels, which are adapted to suit traveler expectations post-pandemic (read, more space). The design also lays out new beaches created on the dolphin-shaped island along with a new lagoon. The land will be raised which will provide a defensive layer from rising sea levels, which aim to preserve and enhance what already exists there.
The vision for the hotels are simple but exquisite; “designed to give the impression that they have washed up on the beaches and nestled among the dunes almost like driftwood”, says Gerard Evenden who is the head of the studio at Foster + Partners. Evenden also states “the materials used and the low impact by them ensures that the pristine environment is protected, while the additions we make to the island serve to enhance what is already there – hence the name, coral bloom.”
Another spectacular feature is that the island’s natural landscape will be used to conceal the building with the landscape, in which there will be no high-rise structures to ensure that the views remain inhibited. The structures will be made out of lightweight materials with a low thermal mass will means more energy efficient and less impact on the environment. This development will also be creating the world’s largest district cooling plant powered by renewable energy 24 hours a day, which will facilitate an efficient and centralized cooling system. The entire destination will be powered by renewables and that will in turn create the largest battery storage system in the world.
John Pagano, the CEO of The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) said this: “We expect guests to be awed by what they see when they first arrive at the Red Sea Project, enjoying a truly immersive barefoot luxury experience. The Coral Bloom designs, taking inspiration from the incredible flora and fauna found uniquely in Saudi Arabia, promise to make that vision a reality.”
Mr. Pagano also said, “this island will be the gateway in setting standards by using groundbreaking architecture and sustainable design by applying a regenerative approach, not only for this destination but globally too.”
What is the timeline?
The first guests will be welcomed by the end of 2022, when the international airport and the first four hotels will open. The remaining hotels will open in 2023 and upon the completion in 2030, there will be 50 resorts. This will comprise of 8,000 hotel rooms, 1,300 residential properties, luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, and leisure facilities.
I can’t wait to you; how about you?