Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

 

Jean Nouvel has unveiled his concept for The Sharaan Resort at AlUla – a scheme that draws on the nearby Nabataean wonders of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The landmark resort aims to celebrate the extraordinary beauty of past civilisations, the architect expressing – “Our project should not jeopardise what humanity and time have consecrated. It must celebrate the Nabateans designs and genius without caricaturing it. This act of creation becomes a true cultural act.”

The 2,000-year-old Sharaan Nature Reserve landscape holds markings and stories that unlock a past civilisation. Nouvel does not take on this responsibility lightly, aiming to create architecture that showcases and preserves the beautiful and unique natural setting that unfolds around them.

“AlUla is a museum,” says the (st)architect. “Every wadi and escarpment, every stretch of sand and rocky outline, every geological and archaeological site deserves the greatest consideration. It’s vital we keep all its distinctiveness and conserve its attractiveness, which largely rests on its remote and occasionally archaic character. We have to safeguard a little mystery as well as the promise of discoveries to come.”

 

Related: Jean Nouvel’s National Museum of Qatar Opens in Doha. 

 

Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

Jean Nouvel, Sharaan Resort Concept, Al ‘Ulá, Saudi Arabia, Rock Buildings | Yellowtrace

Nouvel views the resort as an opportunity to bridge the old with the new, creating a scheme that is respectful to AIUIa’s ancient heritage while also maintaining modern comforts and aesthetics. He outlines – “AIUIa deserves to acquire a degree of modernity. Envisioning the future is a never-ending obligation that requires us to be fully alive to places in the present as well as conjuring up the past.”

The design aims to minimise the impacts on nature, working with the existing landscape rather than fighting it. Inspired by the traditional work of the Nabateans, dwellings will be moulded out of the earth, creating sustainable spaces that provide shelter from the summer heat and the chill of winter.

 

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