The Red Sea Project has revealed plans for a resort designed by Foster + Partners to “blend in with the natural environment” of a Saudi Arabian island within the Red Sea. Known as the Coral Bloom, the project will be made up of 11 hotels on the dolphin-shaped island of Shurayrah, which is part of a chain of 90 undeveloped islands off the west coast of Saudi Arabia that are being developed as part of The Red Sea Project.
Biodiversity considerations take center stage, with the plan designed to avoid disruption of the island’s mangroves and other habitats, providing natural defenses from erosion, while new habitats are created through landscaping to enhance the island’s natural state. The proposal also outlines designs for the island’s 11 hotels, adapted to suit traveler expectations post-Covid-19 including more space, and immersed into the landscape to effectively form part of the sweeping dunes, allowing the island’s natural beauty to reign supreme.
The design sees 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 the global threat of rising sea levels. Importantly, the changes aim to preserve or enhance what already exists on the island, without damaging any habitats or natural shores.
There will be 11 hotels on Shurayrah, which will be operated by some of the most distinguished hotel brands in the world. The island’s natural landscape will be used to dramatic effect with all hotels and villas nestled within the landscape. The absence of high-rise buildings will ensure the spectacular vistas remain uninhibited, while creating a sense of mystery for guests as the island slowly reveals itself.
The hotel designs have also been responsive to the changing world and traveler demands over the last 12 months. There will be no internal corridors for example, 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. The development is creating the world’s largest district cooling plant powered by renewable energy 24 hours a day to facilitate efficient centralized cooling across the destination. The entire destination will be powered by renewables, underpinned by the largest battery storage system in the world.
“Our vision for Shurayrah is inspired by the island’s natural state, with the hotels designed to give the impression that they have washed up on the beaches and nestled among the dunes almost like driftwood,” says Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners. “The materials we use and the low impact they have 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.”