Friday April 19th, 2024
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NEOM Unveils Underground Upside-down Skyscraper in Gulf of Aqaba

Carved into a mountain, Aquellum is accessed via a floating marina in the sea.

Karim Abdullatif

Mega-project NEOM has unveiled Aquellum, an ultra-luxury ‘upside-down’ skyscraper inside a mountain in the Gulf of Aqaba. Designed by architecture studios LAVA and Name Architecture, Aquellum will be centred around an underwater open square, the base of the development’s ‘void’.

To enter Aquellum, visitors arrive at a nearby marina floating in the sea from which they will embark on specially designed vessels that travel through a hidden underground canal that opens up into the underwater world of Aquellum in the heart of the mountain.

“The facade’s facing inwards instead of facing outwards,” Alexander Rieck, Founder of LAVA, tells SceneHome. “Things are inside-out and upside-down. Normally, architecture is focused on the outside.” Aquellum will centre around a 100-metre-tall void that rises from the underwater square, surrounded by a courtyard with walkable paths.

Visuals released by NEOM show that a large concrete building features geometric balconies protruding from masses, with cutouts that house terraces, ponds and indoor waterfalls. Meanwhile, a boulevard acts as the central spine that connects different levels and where all experiences come alive together.

“It becomes this sort of magic cube around which everything plays out,” Nathalia Rozencwajg, Founder of Name Architecture, adds. “It’s an experiential space that will change you forever. It’s a metaverse that you can physically experience.”

Aquellum will feature a space named ‘The Generator’, which is dedicated to research labs and is meant to attract creators to interact and for new ideas to emerge. The development also includes residences, hotels, cinemas and museums.

Making your way up Aquellum, the roof is the only exterior part of the building and will contain a planted garden aligned with pathways arranged above the void, with the water below visible through gaps in the ground. As it sits in the heart of a mountain, Aquellum becomes the latest Neom project to be unveiled in the Gulf of Aqaba following luxury hotel trio Leyja.

Images Credit: NEOM

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