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In pics: Saudi’s Red Sea project unveils ‘Coral Bloom’ design for gateway island

In pics: Saudi’s Red Sea project unveils ‘Coral Bloom’ design for gateway island

Upon completion in 2030, the Red Sea project will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms

Aerial View of Coral Bloom Concept

Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) has launched the Coral Bloom concept as the design for the main hub island at its gateway destination Shurayrah.

The design, unveiled by Saudi Crown Prince and chairman of TRSDC Mohammed bin Salman, was created by architectural firm Foster + Partners and seeks to reflect the island’s natural environment.

“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,” said John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC.

The Coral Bloom designs take inspiration from the flora and fauna found uniquely in Saudi Arabia, he said.

“Shurayrah Island is the gateway to The Red Sea Project so it’s important that it sets the standard in groundbreaking architecture and sustainable design, not just for our destination, but globally too,” he added.

As part of the design, new beaches will be 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 the global threat of rising sea levels,” a statement said.

The changes will aim to preserve or enhance what already exists on the island, without damaging any habitats, such as mangroves, or natural shores.

The proposal also outlines designs for the island’s 11 hotels, adapted to suit traveller expectations post-Covid-19. There will be no internal corridors in response to a growing demand for space and seclusion following the coronavirus pandemic.

The resorts themselves 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.

Meanwhile the absence of high-rise buildings will ensure the views remain uninhibited.

Gerard Evenden, head of Studio at Foster + Partners, said: “The hotels [will be ] designed to give the impression that they have washed up on the beaches and nestled among the dunes almost like driftwood.”

Upon completion in 2030, the Red Sea project will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and around 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

The destination will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment and leisure facilities.

Work is on track to welcome the first guests by the end of 2022, when the international airport and the first four hotels will open, according to TRSDC.

The remaining 12 hotels planned in phase one will open in 2023.

Read: Saudi tourism megaproject near to closing $3.7bn loan

TRSDC also aims to deliver a 30 per cent net conservation benefit by 2040. It is creating the world’s largest district cooling plant powered by renewable energy 24 hours a day to facilitate centralised cooling across the destination.

The entire destination will be powered by renewables.

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