UK architect Foster + Partners has designed a marine life institute at the luxury AMAALA resort on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast.
The facility comprises three floors, which are located above ground, below ground and underwater. Exhibition displays are built into the building’s architecture and lead visitors through the journey of the Red Sea, from shallow mangroves and sandy beaches to the experience of walking into the ocean by entering the building’s underwater storey.
The centre also contains marine labs that can be toured, naturally lit offices and underwater guided tours in submersible vehicles.
A central canopy spans all four of the building’s clusters and provides shading and ventilation. The screens that shade the windows and skylights are inspired by coral.
Some 40% of the site is covered in native plants and a system to collect runoff water and prevent erosion and pollution.
Gerard Evenden, Foster + Partners’ head of studio, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with the Red Sea Development Company to realise this unique project. Integrated exhibition displays take visitors on a journey through the Red Sea, as they travel down through the building towards the immersive deep reef ‘big reveal.’
“At the heart of the space a large, suspended semi-spherical tank – a real first-of-its-kind – contains local marine wildlife within a stunning coral exhibit.”