Italian engineering consulting firm D’Appolonia has revealed details of a new five-star heritage hotel it has been selected to design in the historical Samhan District of Ad’Diriyah on the outskirts of Riyadh.
The RINA Group unit said the contract from Nuzul Saudi Heritage Hospitality Company, awarded in November, was part of plans by the kingdom’s Commission for Tourism and National Heritage to maintain and utilise national heritage sites.
It is the first hospitality related renovation project in the country, according to the firm, and will aim to create a property to mimic the historical look and feel of the 40 mud buildings at the site.
Work on the design, which will be positioned inside a UNESCO buffer zone is underway.
All techniques used to restore buildings within the zone must be compliant with UNESCO standards.
“We are pleased to be able to preserve the integrity and heritage of these historic buildings. Ensuring that the design is environmentally friendly and energy efficient has been a key consideration in making the site available for modern use in a sustainable way, that will mean it lasts for years to come,” said D’Appolonia project manager Andrea Tomarchio.
The proposed design includes a souq selling traditional goods, a museum area displaying traditional construction systems and workshops to teach restoration techniques.
D’Appolonia is partnering with Saudi’s ASAS Omrania and Italy’s AR&P Architecture on the project.
Saudi Arabia plans to double its tourism sector by 2020, under the Vision 2030 plan.
To achieve this goal the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage intends to utilise the kingdom’s many historical sites as tourist attractions.