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DESERT RESERVES
DESERT RESERVES
Riyadh

2019 - Completed
Project Type: Leisure, Planning | Geography: Saudi Arabia

The land banks designated as ‘Reserves’ [under the stewardship of Council of Royal Reserves] make up more than 10% of the Kingdom’s area. This particular initiative focuses on some of the Reserves close to Riyadh, the Capital. The protection of the natural environment and wildlife plays a pivotal role around which series of economic and recreational activities are planned. Such activities are seen as necessary investments to financially support the land conservation efforts along with socio-economic development. Proposed strategies balances the conservation with access and economic activities related to eco and adventure tourism.

A contiguous protected area[s] serve as the main attraction while series recreational hotspots promoting health, wellness and education [occupying a fraction of the land] further reinforce the Reserve[s] as a destination. The assets hosting the hotspots are envisioned as light-touch, low impact developments – almost nomadic and seasonal in nature echoing how locals once used the land. Such assets, as compared to conventional architype, would have smaller environmental footprint. In addition, they require minimal hard infrastructure investments having a ‘plug and play’ format. Programming and design of each asset are specific to the landscape [geology, topography, hydrology and micro-climate] it is planned on.

Located in a severe climatic zone, design of the assets play a fundamental role in energy conservation and in reducing the environmental impacts. Vernacular elements such as tents, screens and shaded landscape are integral features. Some of the fixed assets are built from local materials, and merge visually and ecologically with the epic raw backdrop. The core idea has been to create genuine desert experiences that is tailored to the locale.

FACTS
IaRN Reserve area: 11,300 SKM
KaRN Reserve area: 15,700 SKM

Design Director: Kiran Mathema
Project Team: Rohit CN Kashyap, Time Slate, Robin Summers
Consultant Team: Tony Charters, Mike Wells, Lincoln Garland, Dipesh Shrestha, Bipin Niraula, Bibek Shrestha, Parmila Maharjan, Anu Maharjan, Dinesh Battarai