Closing the Loop

devising water-orientated settlement

Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, 2018

Al-Ula’s existence in an arid desert relies heavily on the precious existence of water. The project operates under the premise that Al-Ula will experience an onset influx of tourists placing an even greater demand on the existing water system, as Saudi Arabia opens up its doors to newly established tourism industry.

The water table in Al-Ula is dropping rapidly due to an excessive pumping from nonrenewable groundwater. In stark contrast, this arid desert experiences flooding during the winter as heavy rainfall sheds off impervious natural rock formations. Water funnels through the wadis at high velocity and runs off onto flat low-lying expanses mostly (80%) evaporating before it can recharge (20%) the aquifer as it does not infiltrate deep enough to do so.

Design Team: Aiysha Alsane, Alan Cong

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