Oppenheim Architecture and Saudi developers The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) have unveiled the design of a new mountain resort nestled in the wadi vistas of western Saudi Arabia. Titled Desert Rock, the project draws inspiration from the surrounding geography, allowing guests to connect with the nature and the local culture of the region through a fully nature-integrated architecture.
One of the main design approaches was to "integrate architecture with nature", so the team integrated all 48 villas and 12 hotel rooms within the mountain range to preserve the rocks' striking forms, all of which are accessible through a hidden valley tucked between the mountains. To ensure undisrupted panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, roads leading into the resort are placed towards the edge of the main trench and hidden behind landscape mounds, minimizing sound and light pollution, and allowing guests to fully absorb the scenery.
The resort will feature a world-class spa and fitness center, remote destination dining areas, as well as a lagoon oasis. Guests will also be able to perform outdoor activities such as hiking, riding dune buggies, and stargazing. Members of the local community will also take part of the project by providing educational tours for visitors about the local history of the area.
Desert Rock is one of the most dramatic desert landscapes in the world, which is why we wanted to use the architecture as a way to honor and respect it. By utilizing natural materials and integrating the resort into the rock, guests can connect physically with the destination and experience Saudi Arabia’s stunning, natural beauty. -- Chad Oppenheim, Founder of Oppenheim Architecture
Desert Rock aims to achieve the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification level with a design that reduces energy consumption and regenerates native greenery. Water retention, harvesting, and distribution systems will be employed throughout the resort, and local materials excavated from the site will be used to construct the site's infrastructure. The main building material will be ground stone and sand mixed to create concrete aggregate, and the interior and exterior walls and floors will be made of local stone.
Construction has already begun in July 2021, and is expected to welcome the first guests by the end of 2022 when the first hotels open. The first phase, which includes 16 hotels is expected to be complete by 2023, and by 2030, the destination will comprise 50 resorts, featuring up to 8,000 hotel rooms and 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands. The site will also feature luxury marinas, golf courses, leisure facilities, and an international airport.