NEOM reveals ‘upside-down’, underground skyscraper in Saudi mountains

NEOM’s new futuristic project will also include bringing life-like meta-verse experiences and an “omnidirectional internal transit system”

Developers of Saudi Arabia’s NEOM have unveiled plans to build a subterranean ‘skyscraper’ project dubbed Aquellum, which will be deep within a mountain range along the Gulf of Aqaba’s coastline.

Aquellum is just the latest project to be announced by NEOM, which is a $500bn Saudi Arabian ‘smart city’ that upon completion will be 33 times the size of New York. Construction on NEOM has already started with its first destinations set to come online in 2024.

At this stage, it’s unclear when Aquellum will come online, but from the descriptions and concept videos it looks set to be a futuristic project like no other in the region that will include bringing life-like meta-verse experiences and an “omnidirectional internal transit system”.

“Concealed from the outside along the Gulf of Aqaba coastline, Aquellum is hidden within a breathtaking, 450-metre-high mountain range and represents a futuristic ecosystem that is harmoniously integrated into the natural surroundings,” says a press statement from NEOM.

“To access Aquellum, visitors will embark on an extraordinary journey, beginning at the world’s first floating marina. Here, guests will board a specially designed vessel to enter Aquellum through a concealed underground canal, unveiling a hidden community that offers an incredible sensory journey.

“Once inside, visitors will be treated to an exhilarating, 100-meter-high vertical experience with an impressive courtyard space stretching from the water to the sky. ​This subterranean digitalised community creates vibrancy and interconnectivity through seamlessly blending hotel accommodation, apartments, retail spaces, leisure and entertainment zones and innovative hubs,” adds the statement.

Other features of the project will include a “courtyard, connecting diverse social spaces, world-class hospitality, immersive arts, events, shopping and dining”.

It will also house a space dubbed ‘The Generator’, which will provide “research labs for disruptors, innovators, and creative thinkers”

This new development follows recent announcements of LeyjaEpiconSirannaUtamo, and Norlana, which are also tourism destinations located in the Gulf of Aqaba.

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