Sharaan by Jean Nouvel: An architectural wonder for historic AlUla

Sharaan by Jean Nouvel

World-renowned French architect, Jean Nouvel, has unveiled design plans for the state-of-the-art project in Saudi Arabia, Sharaan by Jean Nouvel.

Located deep within Sharaan Nature Reserve in the historic city of AlUla, the unique resort will draw inspiration from Hegra, the Kingdom’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 2,000-year-old architectural legacy is being revived by Jean Nouvel for potentially the first time since the Nabataeans carved into the region’s millions-of-years-old sandstone rock.

Sharaan by Jean Nouvel will merge old ways of life to the modern world, minimising the impacts on natural and urban landscapes. To achieve this, Jean Nouvel has introduced a new typology of architecture never seen before, using abstraction, sculpting within the landscape itself rather than competing with it. The esteemed architect integrates the way Nabateans interacted with their environment, both verticality and horizontality, to reconnect to the earth and build sustainable habitats, away from the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter.

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Taking on a curatorial approach in the museo-graphical sense, Jean Nouvel has created public spaces geared towards the joy of living there, by day and by night, with all the various colours, light, shadow, wind, torrential rain, and the passage of time.

He invites travellers to embark on a journey through thousands of years of civilisations and geographical strata within every detail of his designs, from the permanent feel of the rocks to the soft comfort of the armchairs, sofa, and seats. The end result will see guests immersed deep within in a memorable journey through time and space, offering a true discovery of AlUla’s essence.

Nouvel illustrated: “AlUla is a museum. Every wadi and escarpment, every stretch of sand and rocky outline, and every geological and archeological 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.”

Sharaan by Jean Nouvel will be a key element of The Royal Commission for AlUla’s (RCU) strategy to develop the city as a global destination for culture, heritage, and eco-tourism. It is designed within The Charter of AlUla, a framework document that includes 12 guiding principles that commits RCU to long-term future development. It will also contribute to the region’s diversified economy through a Retreat Summit Centre and restaurants.

“These concepts, which showcase Jean Nouvel’s masterly innovation in architecture, underscore our commitment to developing AlUla as a global tourism destination without compromising its history, heritage and landscape,” CEO, RCU, Amr AlMadani declared. “Sharaan by Jean Nouvel will build on that legacy to become a timeless landscape-architecture that will last forever – a gift to the world.”