oppenheim architecture breaks ground on desert rock resort in the mountains of saudi arabia

Sep 28, 2021

the red sea development company or TRSDC (the developer behind the red sea project) has unveiled plans for its new mountainous resort named ‘desert rock’ in riyadh, saudi arabia. designed by oppenheim architecture, the structure gently perches within the local grand granite mountains, allowing guests to connect with nature, whilst protecting the environment.

‘desert rock will provide guests with uninterrupted spectacular views while preserving the natural landscape for future generations to enjoy,’  says john pagano, CEO at TRSDC. ‘we have drawn inspiration from the surrounding environment, while providing unparalleled luxury, allowing guests to connect with nature and create memorable experiences,’ he adds.

all images courtesy of luxigon

guests will access the resort through a hidden valley nestled between the mountains. from there, they will be able to find 48 villas and 12 hotel rooms, located amongst the vista. the architecture is fully integrated into the rocky surroundings, preserving the striking silhouette of the natural landscape. in its entirety, the design serves as a tribute to the architects’ philosophy to build with the land, not on the land.

within the development by TRSDC, a range of accommodation options will be available, from ground-level dwellings to crevice hotel suites midway up the mountain, as well as a number of excavated rooms within the rock mass itself. to provide unobstructed views of the desert setting, most roads leading into the resort will be moved to the edge of the main wadi valley and hidden behind the mounds. this will also minimize sound and light pollution, allowing guests to fully enjoy the dramatic surroundings.

desert rock is destined to be a true regenerative resort, with oppenheim’s architecture used as a tool to not just sustain, but also improve, its environment. the structure is designed to achieve the highest leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) certification, as its architecture is specifically developed to reduce energy consumption and regenerate native flora.  meanwhile, water retention and distribution systems are integrated throughout the site. alongside this, materials excavated from the site will be used to create the infrastructure. stone will be used for interior and exterior walls and floors, while ground stone and existing sand will be used for concrete aggregate, which is the main building material for all the architecture.

the construction of desert rock already began in july 2021, with developers expecting to welcome the first guests by the end of 2022, when the first hotels will open. phase one, which includes 16 hotels in total, will complete by 2023. upon its final completion in 2030, the destination will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. the retreat will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, leisure facilities, and an international airport.

name: desert rock architects: oppenheim architecture project team: chad oppenheim, timothy archambault, kevin mcmorris, katherine bedwell, jacobus bruyning, ana calderon, kevin heidorn, alex lozano, olivier montfort, marcel montoya, marie-pierre pare, andrea perelli, naaly pierre, patrick reuter developers: the red sea development company (TRSDC) location: riyadh, saudi arabia