Zaha Hadid Architects designing sinuous lookout at Neom ski resort

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Zaha Hadid Architects, the renowned UK-based firm, has unveiled their design for a mountaintop viewpoint as part of the Trojena ski resort in Neom, Saudi Arabia. The studio showcased the lookout alongside a 330-metre-tall skyscraper at the recent Cityscape conference in Riyadh. Neom, a futuristic mega-city project, also released renderings of the structure, showcasing two potential options for the building.

The Mountain Observatory, as it is named, will be located within the Trojena ski resort, which is currently being masterplanned by German studio LAVA architects. Positioned within the Discover district, the building will provide panoramic views of the central lake and showcase the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains.

While few details of the viewpoint have been disclosed, renderings depict an enclosed space jutting out from the cliffside. Additionally, one version features an open-air viewing platform, while the other showcases a lower enclosed room.

According to the description on the Neom website, the Mountain Observatory aims to “provide visitors visual access to the mountain’s finest details through innovative technology,” offering a unique and immersive experience of the natural landscape.

Trojena, the larger development where the viewpoint will be situated, is an ambitious project that includes a building with ski slopes, various hotels, and other attractions. The masterplan for Trojena involves collaborations with prominent architecture firms such as UNStudio, Aedas, Mecanoo, and Bureau Proberts.

The Neom project, which has garnered attention as one of the world’s largest and most controversial developments, also includes The Line, a 170-kilometre-long city. However, The Line has faced criticism regarding its livability, sustainability, and human rights issues. Human rights group ALQST reported that three individuals who were evicted from the Neom site have been sentenced to death. In addition, earlier this year, UN Human Rights Council experts expressed concern over the imminent executions. Saudi Arabia has denied any allegations of abuse in response to these claims.

The Trojena ski resort, including the Mountain Observatory, is expected to be fully completed before Neom hosts the Asian Winter Games in 2029, showcasing Saudi Arabia’s commitment to developing world-class infrastructure for sporting events and tourism.

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