Bjarke Ingels, the Danish architect and founder of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) told The Guardian newspaper in an interview he was working on a confidential project which he described as “a human-made ecosystem that is as close to a utopia as you dare imagine”.
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BIG is already active in the kingdom and wider GCC region and was the firm behind the design of the masterplan for the Qiddiya project. Construction work on the $8bn, 334 square kilometre giga-project, known as Qiddiya, started in January 2019, with the first phase scheduled to complete in 2022.
The new entertainment city is situated 45km from the Saudi capital of Riyadh and will include a Formula One-standard racing track, a 20,000-seat cliff-top stadium, an 18,000-seat indoor arena, an aquatic centre and a sports hub and a 2,000-seat performing arts theatre and a cinema.
The development will also be home to Six Flags Qiddiya, an extension of the American theme park, with six themed lands, which includes the world’s longest, tallest and fastest roller coaster and the world’s tallest drop-tower ride.
Qiddiya’s golf and residential neighbourhood will feature two 18-hole championship standard courses and offer club house facilities, in addition to residential components throughout.
By 2030, Qiddiya hopes to draw 17m visitors annually and build new sectors that will contribute up to 17bn riyals ($4.5bn) to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product, employing some 25,000 people.
BIG has also worked on designs for the planned hyperloop transport system set to connect Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which will reduce the travel time between the two UAE cities to around 10 minutes.
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