The Red Sea Marine Life Institute combines futuristic lab spaces with unmatched underwater expeditions…

The ambitious Red Sea project is part of an ongoing effort to transform Saudi Arabia into a world-leading tourist destination and has resulted in plans for luxury hotels and resorts and an airport. Now The Red Sea Global has revealed that work is underway on a state-of-the-art marine centre that will be shaped like coral and feature interactive exhibits, including a large manmade coral reef.

The project, named The Red Sea Marine Life Institute, is part of phase one of AMAALA Triple Bay development. Created by world-class architectural design firm Foster + Partners, the institute will function as both a research centre and a tourist destination to give visitors a glimpse into the wonders of the marine environment.

Marine Life Institute

What to expect from its breathtaking design

Located in the Triple Bay Marina, the 10,340 square meter institute offers stunning panoramic views of the sea and marina.

Drawing on the Red Sea’s thriving coral formations, Foster + Partners’ design utilises robust glass-reinforced concrete panels intricately moulded to resemble the patterns and textures of coral reefs. The panels are supported by a lightweight structural steel frame with a large central canopy that shades the central plaza.

Marine Life Institute plaza new

The journey through the building is vibrant and educational, giving visitors an in-depth understanding of the research that goes on in the institute’s labs. It starts at the entrance, where visitors are flanked by suspended semi-spherical tanks containing colourful local marine wildlife as they walk towards the central exhibit.

The exhibition displays are integrated with the architecture of the building, illustrating the journey through the Red Sea. Visitors can explore the shallow mangroves and sandy beaches, culminating in one of the world’s largest manmade reefs big reveal – measuring an astonishing 40 meters long and 10 meters deep – which creates an awe-inspiring spectacle as they travel down through the building into the ocean.

The institute comprises three floors: above ground, below ground and under water. In addition to the immersive exhibition spaces, visitors can enjoy researcher-led educational tours of the laboratories, walk underwater, snorkel with rare species, and dive into the depths of the Red Sea in a submarine.

Marine Life Institute night

The Marine Life Institute will feature extensive landscaping made up of native plants and a water recycling system to reduce water use and prevent erosion and pollution. The lighting throughout the institute has also been designed with the company’s green ambitions in mind, with an innovative framework to avoid light pollution to protect the nocturnal environment.

“We wanted to design a first-of-its-kind facility that extends far beyond any existing marine life attraction. With ten zones that provide everything from augmented reality experiences to night diving and spaces for the scientific community to effectively progress their environmental projects, the Red Sea Marine Life Institute is undeniably unique. Not only will it drive global green and blue innovations, but it will also help put Saudi Arabia on the map for travellers seeking trips that enrich their lives,” said John Pagano, Group CEO of The Red Sea Global.

Triple Bay, set along three natural bays on the coast, will welcome its first guests in 2024. Positioned as a one-of-a-kind global wellness hub, it comprises eight resorts, a range of restaurants, shops and leisure facilities.

Images: Provided