Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launches the “Coral Bloom” development as part of a new luxury resort the Red Sea resort ..
Designed by the world-renowned British architectural firm Foster + Partners, the development will be built on Shurayrah Island, the main island of the Red Sea Project which encompasses 8,000 km of land and waters across the west coast of Saudi Arabia, across an archipelago of more than 90 islands.
With a natural dolphin shape, the island is home to the world's fourth largest barrier reef system, untouched corals and a significant number of endangered species.
The concept for the island is designed to blend in with its pristine natural environment and will be house 11 hotels, adapted to suit traveler expectations post-pandemic. The designs also show new beaches created on the dolphin-shaped island along with a new lagoon. These enhancements will contribute to raising the level of the land, providing a defensive layer from rising sea levels. importantly, the changes aim to preserve or enhance what already exists on the island, without damaging any habitats or natural shores.
Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners, elaborates on the inspiration behind their designs. “Shurayrah has incredible fauna and flora and a special relationship to its coral reefs. This is a place where you can swim off these islands and be straight into a reef. Very unusual. So, for us the first initial reaction was we want to protect the edges… What we wanted to do was to look at ways of bringing light weight structures and placing those lightweight structures on an island."
With biodiversity considerations at the heart of the project, the resort will be created using lightweight materials with a low thermal mass and manufactured offsite, meaning more energy efficient construction and less impact on the environment.
The Red Sea Development Company also claims that they are creating “the world’s largest district cooling plant powered by renewable energy 24 hours a day to facilitate efficient centralised cooling across the destination. The project will be powered by renewables, underpinned by the largest battery storage system in the world”.
The Red Sea Project is expected to start welcoming guests by the end of 2022, when the international airport and the first four hotels will open with the completed project set to finish by 2030, whereby it will comprise of 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and around 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.