Foster + Partners has shared a new design for a hotel in Saudi Arabia set within sand dunes. Dubbed Southern Dunes, the project is part of The Red Sea Project tourist development. The hotel will include 40 villas that are constructed from timber and arranged to take advantage of surrounding views. Designed as part of the first phase of The Red Sea Project, it aims to be part of the world's "most ambitious" tourism development.
Northeast of the town of Umluj on the country's western coast, the Southern Dunes hotel will be set within a remote desert landscape. The program includes a spa, reception buildings, a pool and restaurants. It will include local housing for employees on site. Formally, communal buildings and spaces are protected by curved forms atop timber columns. In turn, the project features elements that can be fabricated offsite to speed up the construction process.
Gerard Evenden, head of studio at Foster + Partners, noted that, "From our work previously in the desert, one of the most important things is to avoid using what we call high thermal mass materials. If you use stone or concrete in the desert, the problem is that over time it heats up and it becomes a thermal mass. They radiate heat and they hold the heat. And because in the desert they are being baked every day, they never get cooled."
The Southern Dunes hotel is set to open in 2022.