Architecture Aviation Travel

Foster + Partners bags airport design commission for yet another luxury tourism project in Saudi Arabia

July 1, 2020

Foster + Partners has unveiled images of its latest project in Saudi Arabia. One of the oil-rich kingdom’s high profile upcoming tourism projects, Amaala, has selected the UK firm to design the airport’s new terminal and control tower. The masterplan was designed by global consultancy and engineering group Egis.

The 3,800 square kilometre project is currently under development on the north-western coast of the kingdom, with the new airport inspired by the optical illusion of a desert mirage.

Led by the crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, the project will be financed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

It is due for completion in 2023, and is estimated to accommodate one million travellers annually once it officially opens.

Commenting on the announcement of the new international airport, the chief executive officer of Amaala, Nicholas Naples, said: “A gateway to Amaala, visitors will be greeted by personalised experiences from the moment they step off the plane. From design to personalisation, this will be no ordinary airport. Immersed in the spirit of Amaala, the airport will create an environment that embodies the philosophy of the destination beyond. This will be a unique space that personifies luxury and marks the start of memorable experiences for the world’s most discerning guests. We are delighted to work with Foster + Partners and Egis on this project.”

On approaching the airport, travellers will see land art from the air. Entering the terminal, visitors will be greeted with a mirrored edifice rising from the desert.

The structure takes its inspiration from the surrounding environment, resulting in a mirage effect. A spacious courtyard will anchor the terminal and will be complemented by contemporary interiors complete with artwork and tailored experiences.

The airport will reflect Amaala’s ultra-luxury hospitality spirit, providing an exclusive private-club experience, encapsulating pillars of art and culture; wellness and sport; and sea, sun and lifestyle.

The airport also includes climate-controlled hangars that will be available for private jets as well as a ground transfer service that is accessible from inside the arrival hangar.

Senior executive partner of Foster + Partners, Gerard Evenden, said: “Responding to the surrounding landscape, the terminal building will form an exclusive gateway to the Amaala resort.

“The passenger experience through the entire building will be akin to a private members club – luxurious and relaxing. Focusing on the themes of art, wellbeing and sport, the design seeks to establish a new model for private terminals that provides a seamless experience from resort to airplane.”

This is the latest in a series of ambitious projects launched by Saudi Arabia in a bid to kickstart tourism-driven economy in the country that has so far shunned most visitors.

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