Architecture & Real Estate | February 22, 2021 6:30 am

Foster + Partners Reveal Stunning Design for Stilt Hotel in Saudi Arabia

The design blends high-tech features and the natural environment

Hotel 12 on Ummahat AlShaykh Islands
Hotel 12 on Ummahat AlShaykh Islands.
The Red Sea Development Company

In 2019, Stanley Reed at The New York Times reported on a distinctive ambition on the part of the Saudi Arabian government. Specifically, the country was looking to increase its tourism profile. One element of this is the Red Sea Project, described by Reed as being situated in “a remote area with 120 miles of coastline, more than 90 islands and extensive coral reefs that could one day be a diving and snorkeling paradise.”

It’s one of several ambitious projects overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. For the Red Sea Project, noted architects Foster + Partners were hired to design a number of resorts. Among them is a distinctive hotel situated on Ummahat AlShaykh island — and an article at Dezeen offers more specifics, as well as some images of what the hotel is set to look like.

Perhaps most notable are the ways in which the hotel – currently known as Hotel 12 – interacts with the environment. Dezeen’s Tom Ravenscroft describes it as “a series of suites supported on stilts above the Red Sea that will be accessed by a circular walkway.”

On the project’s website, Foster + Partners’ Head of Studio Gerard Evenden provided more insight as to the design process. He addressed concerns of sustainability, and then said, “when we looked at the islands our approach was to have a light touch. As light as we could possibly be.”

The result is a visually distinctive structure — one that feels both built and designed to mesh with the overall environment. It’s not built yet — but it certainly doesn’t lack for ambition.

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