NEOM, the city-state of the future built for change, is located at the border of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt.
It is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious mega-city program.
The Crown Prince derived the word “NEO” from ancient Greek prefix and Arabic, together it means “A New Future.”
The goal of this new city is to challenge the limits with unprecedented courage and become a place of creation.
Anyone can have a slogan, but not necessarily the land.
NEOM covers an area of approximately 26,500 square kilometers, which is about 1.23 percent of the total area of Saudi Arabia.
NEOM’s planned area, fitting 16 Londons and 22 New Yorks, is truly staggering compared to Western metropolises.
The sheer size of the project makes NEOM one of the largest urban planning and development projects in the world.
Its decision-makers are the Saudi Arabian royal family led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A number of headline tech companies, architectural firms and investors are also on board, making for a bright and glittering all-star lineup.
Mohammed bin Salman, as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, is a key driver of Saudi Vision 2030. This plan aims to diversify Saudi’s economy, advance society, and modernize the nation.
The Crown Prince has a vision for the oil economy and understands the philosophy that good times come with bad times.
Even more admirable are the social reforms he has pushed through, including lifting the ban on women driving, allowing women to participate in all fields of employment, and easing restrictions on recreational and cultural activities.
These reforms have helped to promote women’s rights in Saudi society and the Saudi economy.
Now let’s go back to NEOM’s slogan: The City State of the Future for Change. Doesn’t it perfectly capture what the whole city program is all about?
Let’s take a look at the step-by-step planning for the creation of a place that realizes change.
The project will include a city center area, residential area, commercial area, industrial area, innovation area, tourism area, and a transportation network and supporting infrastructure.
NEOM will utilize renewable energy sources, energy-saving technologies and circular economy principles to reduce urban energy consumption. It will adopt measures to protect wildlife species and promote ecological restoration. Moreover, it will embrace innovative agricultural techniques to reduce the demand for water resources.
The construction of a large number of green spaces and landscapes in the city has become the focus of the infrastructure project, which has successfully attracted many star architectural firms to contribute their ideas.
The four major areas already under planning are THE LINE, a linear city; Oxagon, a pollution-free industrial center; Trojena, a peak experience destination; and Sindalah, a luxury island resort.
One of NEOM’s core projects, THE LINE
THE LINE is a 170-kilometer linear city stretching inland from the coastline, connecting the Red Sea coast through the mountains and ultimately to the upper valleys.
It will be a smart and highly connected eco-city with an eventual population of 9 million people, covering only 34 square kilometers—only 2 percent of the area of a conventional city—and occupying less than half the land of London with the same population.
Unlike the horizontal planning experience, THE LINE conceptualizes the zero-gravity city by re-imagining the alignment of Manhattan’s urban areas, stacking functional modules vertically and stretching 170 kilometers in a straight line.
Through a new urban layout, the footprint of the infrastructure is reduced and the traditional transportation model centered on vehicles and roads is completely eliminated, replaced with new technological logistics, returning to a human-scale design experience.
The city’s unique living concept is unprecedented.
Logically, this highly integrated planning concept is well adapted to the vast desert landscape, and high efficiency is the basis for ecological well-being, which makes it possible to achieve the goal of “reserving 95 percent of the area for nature, free from the effects of urbanization.”
From a planning point of view, the new city will have to be built with zero carbon emissions and rely exclusively on renewable energy sources.
Ideally, beyond the existing urban planning experience, architects need to think out of the box, deconstructing existing urban functions and reorganizing the modules and connections that may occur in the future.
The building consists of two parallel glass mirrors with interlocking and futuristic interior spaces.
The façade is like a mirrored city wall, reflecting and blending in with the surrounding natural environment.
RJ Models assists architectural teams to better understand the design concepts of linear cities through the presentation of architectural models and dialogues with the future.
The materials and craftsmanship in the architectural model emphasize the details and ingenuity in the design. And it becomes a source of motivation that drives the architectural design to explore the future.
Oxagon Floating Harbor
Oxagon is a city of the future. Located in northwestern Saudi Arabia, it is situated along the neighboring Suez River, which carries 13 percent of the world’s trade.
Easy access to air, land and sea transportation provides a natural advantage for global connectivity.
That’s why the plan is to create a state-of-the-art, clean-industry city and innovation center with an automated port that leverages a smart supply chain.
This city of the future is also iconic. Oxagon’s urban layout is octagonal in shape and internally provides efficient spatial planning and transportation networks to maximize the use of land and water resources and provide ample space for industrial activities.
Meanwhile, as the world’s largest floating structure on water, the pontoon-like structure on the Red Sea provides a unique location and connectivity, turning it into a world-class logistics center.
OXAGON is equipped with office buildings, R&D laboratories, production line construction, and other development projects in line with Industry 4.0.
The complementary design of the work rest areas, such as vegetation-covered roofs and courtyard gardens, conveys the atmosphere of incubating innovative companies.
It is, therefore, easy to see from the overhead view of the plan that the overall layout is highly modular and flexible to accommodate different types of industrial activities and needs.
The RJ Models modeling team expressed Oxagon’s architectural form by highlighting the connection between the future city and the water’s surface, simulating the interaction effect between Oxagon and the water, and demonstrating the innovation of this floating building in a more intuitive way.
Legendary Island in the Red Sea, Sindalah
Sindalah is a beautiful island surrounded by the Red Sea. It has a stunning coastline and a unique natural landscape that includes gorgeous coral reefs and diverse marine ecosystems.
This resort island plays an important role in the tourism industry in the country’s economic transformation as part of the NEOM project.
A range of high-end hotels, vacation villas and luxury facilities will be built on the island.
With its 86-berth marina and 75 sea buoys, Sindalah is the stopping point for many boat owners and yachting enthusiasts on their way to the Suez.
The location and natural conditions couldn’t be a better match for Sindalah’s identity as a growing luxury yacht industry and oil empire.
It is worth noting that the resort was designed by Luca Dini, an architect known for his work on superyachts.
The buildings have been designed in the shape of rocks, drawing on local sand and shells as raw materials, echoing the original natural features.
The promenade’s roof is adorned with colorful crystals, complementing the ocean’s coral. The vibrant light adds a unique charm to the coastal scenery, creating an enchanting undersea world illusion.
RJ Models meticulously crafts landscapes and vegetation to recreate the area’s surroundings, providing a realistic atmosphere. This vividly showcases Sindalah’s design concept and features, giving a preview of this captivating resort island.
Trojena, the High Peaks Experience Resort
Trojena is located in the northwestern part of NOEM, an area characterized by mountain ranges ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters above sea level.
The area’s unique geography means that temperatures in Trojena are up to 10 degrees Celsius lower than in the rest of the region, with winter temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius.
Snow sports will therefore be an important attraction, and this will be the first village in Saudi Arabia where year-round outdoor skiing is possible at high altitude.
In addition, mountaineering, hiking, rock climbing and even watersports are all possible in Trojena!
According to bureau^proberts’ design plan, the lake will be one of the city’s highlights. Imagine people strolling along the lake, enjoying the view, and looking around at the spectacular rolling Arabian mountains.
It seems that nothing can stop the Crown Princes from changing the stereotype of the desert.
What remains unchanged, however, is the oil kingdom’s constant quest for breakthroughs and pushing the boundaries.
The Vault, as it is called, is actually a planned underground city. It was built underground to withstand the extreme weather conditions and other potential risks of a mountainous environment.
Unlike sci-fi films where humans live underground, “The Vault” has no material scarcity or extreme weather. It offers recreational facilities, lifestyle features, residential areas, commercial centers, and cultural and community facilities.
Residents and visitors will enjoy a level of tranquility and privacy unheard of in a traditional city, while experiencing a comfortable and unique living environment through innovative technology and the spatial design of a vertical village.
Trojena will host a series of music festivals and art festivals. Whether through participating in sports competitions, admiring works of art, or enjoying musical performances, residents and tourists will find no shortage of entertainment.
By 2030, Trojena is expected to attract approximately 700,000 visitors and 7,000 permanent residents.
The planning of Trojena emphasizes the importance of both the human and natural environments.
In the model, RJ Models has paid extraordinarily detailed attention to the production of natural areas such as mountains and lakes. And with the help of lighting effects that emphasize the edginess of the architectural design, life and vitality shine through.
NEOM is attracting the world’s attention with its innovative design concepts and large-scale construction projects.
However, in order for people to truly understand and appreciate the concept of NEOM, a more concrete and visual presentation is often needed.
RJ Models plays a crucial role here, turning the concept into a tangible reality through accurate modeling. This presentation allows viewers to truly grasp the project’s scope and originality.
This tangible presentation gives the audience a more realistic understanding of the project’s scale and uniqueness, and adds to the vividness of this mega-city project.
Despite facing challenges in energy, water, and social controversies, NEOM is a miraculous project. It carries the determination to pioneer a new human civilization.
It means breaking the shackles of tradition, exploring and innovating, and realizing a new place of creation.