Desert Rock

A singular hospitality experience nestled in the ancient mountains conspires with nature to create an incomparable global place brand.

Desert Rock is part of an ambitious and unprecedented eco-tourism development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, set among 11,000 square miles of islands, beaches, desert, mountains, and volcanic areas. In contrast with the curvilinear forms of our nearby Sacred Reef Resort, this inland project engages with the majestic granite mountains and mythical desertscape.

Working with the language of the earth, we have designed new spaces and experiences— buildings that disappear within the tectonic landscape, echoing ancient Nabatean civilizations that once lived in the region. Indoor and outdoor spaces are located within crevices and caves, or on shaded slopes, utilizing the cooler microclimates and minimizing solar gain. These discrete locations camouflage the architecture during the day, while at night they glow like small lanterns dotted across the massif.

The project defines new territory for sustainability and sustainable tourism at every level; across planning, construction, and operation. Most construction materials will be recycled from the site, so that building impact is minimal and new forms embody the same colors and minerals as their surroundings. Dispersed facilities minimize the resort’s footprint and invite wider site exploration, adventure, and discovery; introducing guests to all the cultural, archeological, and geological dimensions of this awe-inspiring place. 

Desert Rock will create a benchmark for future hospitality development in the region, delivering a net positive conservation benefit and establishing an internationally recognized place brand for our client.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
335,000 SF
The Red Sea Development Company
In progress
Masterplanning, Architecture
Project Team
Chad Oppenheim, Timothy Archambault, Kevin McMorris, Katherine Bedwell, Jacobus Bruyning, Ana Calderon, Reynolds Diaz Jr., Kevin Heidorn, Alex Lozano, Olivier Montfort, Marcel Montoya, Marie-Pierre Pare, Andrea Perelli, Naaly Pierre, Patrick Reuter
Image Credit

Desert Rock