Dubai's Shaun Killa targets Saudi Arabia expansion via Neom
The firm behind Dubai’s Office of the Future will head to Saudi Arabia in 2019 to work on its ambitious gigaprojects
Killa Design, the architecture house behind Museum of the Future and Dubai’s 3D printed Office of the Future, is looking at “specific projects and masterplans” for Saudi Arabia's gigaprojects, such as the $500bn (SAR1.9tn) Neom.
Shaun Killa, who founded the eponymously named company in January 2015, told Construction Week he is “excited” by the kingdom’s development plans and intends for the design firm to play a major role in these programmes.
“We are looking to engage with Neom and the Red Sea development,” Killa said.
Members of the team at Killa Design will travel to Saudi Arabia soon this year, and senior figures will hold high-level talks to review “some very specific projects and masterplans”.
Killa could not provide further information about the firm's involvement due to the sensitive nature of the Saudi Arabian projects. However, he confirmed that the company’s interest in Saudi Arabia stemmed from HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz’s “great ideas” for the future, such as Neom and the Red Sea Project.
He explained: “I am quite excited about what’s happing in Saudi Arabia with [the Crown Prince] coming up with so many great ideas. Over the last year, there has been time with quite a lot of planning going on, but that planning needs to start turning into bricks and mortar.”
Killa has respectively worked on Dubai's Burj Al Arab and Museum of the Future during his career at Atkins and Killa Design.
Since Killa spoke to Construction Week, the Neom Founding Board has approved a masterplan concept for Neom and confirmed construction work will start on the megaproject in Q1 2019. Phase 1 of Neom Bay is expected to be completed next year.
Meanwhile, plans for the Red Sea Project took a big step forward this month after The Red Sea Development Company’s masterplan for the gigaproject was approved.
Phase 1 of the Red Sea Project is due to complete in 2022, and is expected to attract more than one million tourists per year. The number is expected to contribute $5.9bn (SAR22bn) to the kingdom’s gross domestic product.