Foster + Partners began building the new Red Sea International Airport in Saudi Arabia in 2021. The airport lies on the west coast of the country and is part of the bigger Red Sea Project and tourism development. The “colors and textures of the desert landscape” inspired the design, which will include a series of five pod structures grouped radially around a central drop-off and pick-up zone.
“Red Sea International Airport is the most iconic, progressive, and special. The architectural concept, mode of operation, and guest experience are truly unique,” said Joseph Stratford.
Reem Emirates Saudi (RSG) constructs the façade and roof shell of the Red Sea International (RSI) airport’s landside facilities. John Pagano, Group CEO of RSG said “Not only is the airport sustainably designed, but aesthetically it takes inspiration from the forms of the surrounding desert, the green oasis, and the sea. The roof shell, which Reem Emirates Saudi will deliver, typifies this, with dune-like pods radiating out from the center, providing an arresting welcome as guests first arrive at THE RED SEA from above.”
The proposed airport is intended to serve tourists visiting The Red Sea Project development, with a capacity of one million passengers per year by 2030. For the first stage of the arrivals process, areas between the project’s five formal pod shapes will be filled with greenery. Each of the five pods can function independently as a “mini terminal,” with others shutting down to save energy needs, while two wings will house the airport’s ancillary buildings, including hangers, logistics, and baggage processing facilities.
Gerard Evenden, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners, said: “The Red Sea Airport has been envisaged as a gateway to one of the most unique resorts in the world and an integral part of the visitor experience. Inspired by the colors and textures of the desert landscape, the sustainable design seeks to create a calm and luxurious journey through the terminal. It will become a transit hub for visitors coming in by both land and air. We look forward to working with the Red Sea Development Company to fulfill the vision for this ambitious one-of-a-kind project.”
On 20 and 21 July 2022, the first flight tests were carried out at the airport.
Here are a few photos from the construction process: