Foster + Partners has unveiled designs for the “world’s first fully immersive experiential marine life center” featuring a massive artificial reef.
Located in the Triple Bay Marina in AMAALA, a luxury tourist destination on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, the institute will give visitors insight into the wonders of the marine environment and the challenges we face in conserving our natural habitats.
Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with The Red Sea Development Company to deliver this unique project.
“The built-in exhibits take visitors on a journey across the Red Sea, as they descend through the building to the deep ‘big reveal’ of the immersive reef. At the heart of the space, a large suspended semi-spherical tank – a true first of its kind – contains local marine wildlife in a stunning coral display.
The visitor’s journey begins at the entrance where visitors are flanked by colorful floats as they walk towards the central exhibit. The central canopy, which spans the four “groups” of buildings, provides both shade and an area open to the sky for ventilation.
Exhibits are integrated into the architecture of the building, depicting the journey across the Red Sea – from shallow mangroves and sandy beaches to the immersive grand revelation of the deep reef, designed to create an awe-inspiring spectacle for visitors during their travel. through the building into the ocean.
The institute comprises three floors, which are located above ground, below ground and under water. In addition to the immersive exhibit spaces, there will be educational tours of the labs led by researchers, as well as guided underwater tours of the Red Sea in the latest submersible vehicles.
The institute’s private offices are naturally lit. The screen that shades the windows and skylights is inspired by the intricate pattern of corals, filtering dappled light into the interior spaces.
The design uses GRC panels to replicate the patterns of the coral reef, both in the shape of the modules and in the texture of the walls. The panels are supported by a structural steel frame to maintain a lightweight construction.
The structure is effectively supported at four points, with a large canopy shading the central plaza, which offers panoramic views of the Red Sea and the marina. Below ground, the reinforced concrete structure is ideal for creating a controlled environment for museum exhibits.
More than 40% of the site is covered with native plants and a runoff collection system prevents erosion and pollution, while reducing the consumption of running water. The institute’s lighting has also been designed sustainably, with an innovative framework to avoid light pollution to protect the nighttime environment.