Designs for giant coral reef-like marine institute unveiled for Saudi Arabia

The centre for The Red Sea Development Company has been designed by Foster + Partners

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Designs for the "world's first fully immersive experiential marine life centre", to be located in Saudi Arabia, have been unveiled by British architecture studio Foster + Partners.

The cluster of four buildings, which will be at the Triple Bay Marina in Amaala and have one floor underground and another underwater, is designed to resemble coral reefs.

It will be a Marine Life Institute and centre for The Red Sea Development Company, spanning 10,430 square metres.

It will also house one of the world's largest man-made reefs, measuring 40 metres long and 10 metres deep, as well as augmented reality experiences and underwater tours of the Red Sea in submersible vehicles.

"Integrated exhibition displays take visitors on a journey through the Red Sea, as they travel down through the building towards the immersive deep reef 'big reveal,'" said Foster + Partners head of studio Gerard Evenden.

"At the heart of the space, a large, suspended semi-spherical tank — a real first-of-its-kind — contains local marine wildlife within a stunning coral exhibit."

It will also feature "futuristic" lab spaces, as described by The Red Sea Development Company, which visitors will be able to tour and will be part of the "conservation-driven" scientific research centre.

More than 40 per cent of the site is to be covered in native plants and a system will also collect runoff water to prevent erosion and pollution. The lighting has also been sustainably designed to decrease light pollution.

John Pagano, chief executive of The Red Sea Development Company, said: "With 10 zones that provide everything from augmented reality experiences to night diving, and spaces for the scientific community to effectively progress their environmental projects, the Marine Life Institute is undeniably unique.

"Not only will it drive global green and blue innovations, it will also help put Saudi Arabia on the map for travellers seeking trips that enrich their lives."

“More than just a window into the marine world, we’re creating an integrated experience that offers unique activities for our guests, with a collection of opportunities to explore and learn suited to all,” said Warren Baverstock, senior marine life director at The Red Sea Development Company.

Amaala is a luxury development on Saudi Arabia’s north-western coast and one of the flagship Saudi Vision 2030 projects. Foster + Partners is also designing an airport for the area.

The development will add 2,500 hotel rooms and 700 private residential villas, along with a retail area featuring 200 outlets.

It will have a Triple Bay Yacht Club in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nature Reserve, designed after traditional Arabian houses, with a smooth white exterior and a palette of natural and locally sourced materials, such as stone, timber and leather.

Set across 4,155 square kilometres and scheduled to host its first guests in 2024, Triple Bay spans three natural bays. It consists of eight resorts offering more than 1,300 hotel rooms and will feature dining outlets and retail and leisure facilities.

Amaala is only one of several large-scale megaprojects under development in the kingdom, including Neom, Trojena and The Red Sea Project.

Scroll through the gallery below to see some of the megaprojects in Saudi Arabia

Updated: October 18, 2022, 8:02 AM