fbpx DAN | Daily Architecture News Incoming oasis: Red Sea International Airport by Foster + Partners - DAN | Daily Architecture News
Incoming oasis: Red Sea International Airport by Foster + Partners

Incoming oasis: Red Sea International Airport by Foster + Partners

WATCH: Highlights from the world of architecture and design.

Offering a glimmer of hope that global travel will resume in the not too distant future, construction is underway at the Red Sea International Airport in Saudi Arabia. Designed by Foster + Partners, the world-class facility is located on the country’s west coast, about 15 kilometres inland from the Red Sea. By 2030, the airport is expected to facilitate the confluence of one million passengers per year, establishing its status as a significant gateway for the region’s tourism-focussed Red Sea Project.

Red Sea International Airport by Foster and Partners

Red Sea International Airport news highlights

  • Construction has begun on the Red Sea International Airport on the west coast of Saudi Arabia.
  • Envisaged by Foster + Partners, who also designed Apple Central World in Bangkok, the facility is characterised by five pod-like structures.
  • Lush tropical gardens are planned to appear between each pod while spas and restaurants inside will ensure a relaxing transit for passengers.
  • The airport will be the main gateway for the region’s Red Sea Project.
  • Bound to excite avid travellers, the project is due for arrival in 2022.

For passengers arriving at the Red Sea International Airport by air, and those in transit on the ground too, perhaps the most defining feature of the building is a series of five undulating pod-like structures that are positioned radially around a central terminal. This gesture by Foster + Partners was inspired by the mesmerising forms, colours and textures of the surrounding desert landscape, underpinned by the idea that passing through an airport should be hassle-free.

“The design seeks to create a calm and luxurious journey through the terminal and will become a transit hub for visitors coming in by both land and air,” said Gerard Evenden, head of studio at Foster + Partners, when the project was first unveiled in 2019.

Red Sea International Airport by Foster and Partners

Each of the airport’s pods will contain a relaxing departure lounge with spa ammenities and restaurants where travellers can comfortably watch the action on the runway.

“The terminal aims to bring the experience of a private aircraft terminal to every traveller by providing smaller, intimate spaces that feel luxurious and personalised,” says the architects.

Between the airport’s five pods, light-filled spaces brimming with lush green foliage will greet visitors, likened to arriving at an oasis in the sprawling desert. Each of the pods can be isolated and operated as independent terminals, allowing unneeded zones to be closed off so that energy savings can occur.  

Red Sea International Airport by Foster and Partners

The architects say, “the overall form of the terminal building has been designed to protect the internal environment from solar gains and therefore substantially reduce the overall energy demand for cooling in the building through self-shading.”

“Daylight has also been considered with most of the glazing facing north allowing for increased daylight penetration without compromising solar performance.”

Spreading out like wings of a plane, the two corridors extending from each side of the main terminal will contain ancillary spaces such as hangers, logistics and baggage-handling facilities. In addition to the central building and its runway, a dedicated seaplane runway and three helipads are all under construction at the site.

Destined to excite avid travellers, aviation enthusiasts and plane spotters alike, the Red Sea International Airport is due for arrival in 2022. 


Catch up on more architecture highlights. Plus, subscribe to receive the Daily Architecture News e-letter direct to your inbox.

Interior airport view toward runway
Interior airport view of lush tropical plantings

The design seeks to create a calm and luxurious journey through the terminal and will become a transit hub for visitors coming in by both land and air.

Gerard Evenden Head of studio, Foster + Partners

Related stories

Login to join the conversation

Subscriber comments are moderated first. Respect others. Criticise ideas, not people. No offensive language View commenting guidelines

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Further Reading
View all in Architecture
The colour-filled Toggle Hotel in Tokyo by Klein Dytham architecture
Designed by Tokyo-based firm Klein Dytham architecture (KDa), the Toggle Hotel is a truly efficient urban lodging in a city where real estate is notoriously hard to come by. Expertly wedged onto a triangle-shaped site in the beating heart of Tokyo, the nine-storey hotel is bound by the elevated Metropolitan Expressway which flies past on one side, while the main railway line that crosses Tokyo zooms past on the opposite side.
Ateliers Jean Nouvel wins competition to build opera house in Shenzhen
Paris-based architecture studio Ateliers Jean Nouvel has been announced as the winner of an international competition to build a new opera house in Shenzhen, China. Titled ‘Light of the Sea’ for the washes of light to be emitted from the building's curvaceous shell and its proximity to the South China Sea, the winning design will become the sparkling diamond in a revived promenade precinct that stretches along the city's shoreline.
Guðlaug geothermal baths in Iceland by Basalt Architects
Sought after for its health benefits and healing powers, geothermal bathing is an ancient tradition in Iceland which dates back to the 12th century. The Nordic island nation is located on a fissure between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, placing it directly above geothermal activity that heats reservoirs of water underneath the earth’s crust. The piping hot water – the quintessence of geothermal bathing – can be accessed by drilling or it might rise to the earth's surface naturally.
Soaring 'Skyhomes' join the site of Australia's most expensive residence
Guided by property developer Lendlease, One Sydney Harbour sees the reunion of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano and interior designer Daniel Goldberg, founder and creative director at State of Craft. The two design visionaries previously collaborated in 2012 on both The Shard and Shard Place in London. The One Sydney Harbour site is already known as the home to the most expensive residence in Australia – the penthouse of Residences One was sold for over AU$140 million. But it’s the buzz that surrounds Residences Two, the next step in the harbourside development, that’s capturing renewed attention.
‘By the people, for the people’: Waterfront Clubhouse by Abin Design Studio
In early 2017, the state government of West Bengal in India offered all state clubs and associations a sum of two lakh rupees (approx. AU$3500/US$2750), to be used for the promotion of sports and extra-curricular activities within its communities. Though not enough funding to immediately fulfil their ambitions, one of the local football clubs in the city of Bansberia was prompted by the stimulus to approach Abin Design Studio (ADS), tasking them with the design and construction of a compact clubhouse for its young and passionate footballers.
The Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot
Born from a partnership between New York-based architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Australian practice Woods Bagot, the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre (AACC) is one step closer to realisation with the unveiling of the building’s updated designs. Planned for the city of Adelaide in South Australia, the AACC will honour the past, present and future of Aboriginal cultures while also pledging support to contemporary art practices and events.

Back to Top