Influential French architect Jean Nouvel has produced several impressive buildings in the Middle East, including the National Museum of Qatar, but his latest project may be his most ambitious to date. Named Sharaan by Jean Nouvel, it consists of a resort and hotel that will be built into sandstone mountains in the Arabian desert.
The project will be located in the Sharaan Nature Reserve in AlUla, a culturally important site in Saudi Arabia, and draws inspiration from the amazing nearby Nabataean architecture that dates back thousands of years.
“The designs draw on the nearby Nabataean wonders of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site,” explains Atelier Jean Nouvel in a press release. “In a world-first, this 2,000-year-old architectural legacy is being revived by Jean Nouvel for potentially the first time since the Nabataeans carved into the region’s millions-of-years-old sandstone rock. Jean Nouvel integrates the way Nabateans interacted with their environment, both verticality and horizontality, to reconnect to the earth and build sustainable habitats, away from the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter.
“Nouvel views this resort as an opportunity to bring to life a strong spatial, sensorial and emotional experience on the borders of nature, architecture and art – where the sound, musicality, harshness, tactility, power and complexity of nature are everywhere, from finely chopped stones on balconies to the singular granularity of each rock wall, all becomes an artwork in itself.”
Further details are still pretty light at this early stage, such how exactly the resort will be built into the stone hillside. However, we do know that it will include 40 guest suites and three resort villas buried deep within the rock. A retreat summit center nearby will also feature 14 private pavilions and there will be a scenic elevator.
The interior decor will leave the uncovered rock on display and will boast intricate stonework that will create pleasant dappled light. Renders depict hotel rooms with balconies overlooking the desert landscape and private pool areas.
We’ve no word yet on when construction is expected to begin but Sharaan by Jean Nouvel is slated to be completed in 2024.
Source: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
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