Oppenheim Architecture has announced that construction has commenced on Desert Rock, a regenerative resort project in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Designed for the Red Sea Development Company, the concept will be one of numerous hospitality spaces that comprise the behemoth Red Sea Project. A total of 16 hotels will be unveiled upon completion of the first phase of the tourism destination in 2023. (The final construction phase is slated to wrap in 2030, and will comprise 50 resorts, up to 8,000 guestrooms, and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.)

“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,” says Oppenheim founder Chad Oppenheim. “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.”

Nestled against a backdrop of granite mountains, the project will feature architecture conceived to reduce energy consumption and regenerate native flora. Water retention and distribution systems will be used across the site, while locally excavated stone will comprise interior and exterior walls.

In addition to amenities like a fitness center and a central lagoon, Desert Rock will provide 48 villas and a dozen guestrooms for a total of 60 keys that range from the valley to midway up the mountains.

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