Located on the Red Sea coast, Triple Bay Yacht Club is the centerpiece development Within the Triple Bay Marina in AMAALA and is set to provide guests with uniquely memorable experiences in a spectacular setting. We spoke to Richard Haws, Marine Director at AMAALA, to find out more about the development’s fabulous facilities, its sustainability ethos, and the design challenge of placing an ultra-modern structure in a traditional setting.
SP: Can you tell me a little about the design of the Yacht Club, who is the architect (why you chose them), and where the inspiration comes from?
Richard Haws: London-based HKS Architects won a design competition for the yacht club. Their design was inspired by local landscapes and culture as well as from mankind’s relationship with the sea and maritime history.
SP: Is it important for the Yacht Club to keep its Arabic identity? What marks it out from other yacht clubs?
Richard: One of the most poignant aspects of Saudi Arabian history has been its ability to reinvent itself and adapt to the changing environment. For not only is the modern desert carved with the beds of ancient rivers that once supported thriving communities, but the movement of trade routes from land to sea; the rise of competing empires, the discovery of oil, and the more recent vision of how to leverage other natural reserves show the true Saudi Arabian identity is imbedded in its people’s ability to embrace and advance. Its history is a legacy of creativity that flows through to the modern industrialized nation, and that forward-thinking use of space, light and time is what the Yacht Club design embodies.
One of the most poignant aspects of Saudi Arabian history has been its ability to reinvent itself
SP: What will the Yacht Club incorporate in terms of facilities?
Richard: While the HKS team sculpted the architecture of the building the AMAALA Operations team carefully assessed what it means to be a modern yacht club, what it means to hold membership in the nomadic affluent world, and how should these values and requirements be captured within a building. Benchmarking different environments from the yacht and country clubs to private and beach clubs, a user profile was created and the facilities formed.
As mentioned above, the Yacht Club is designed in line with AMAALA’s experiential DNA. It is not just a building, it is a venue. Designed to provide intimate experiences, and yet also capable of hosting events over 1000 pax, the ergonomics have been carefully considered to maximize hospitality opportunities. In area terms, the high-arched ground floor creates divided entrances, allowing an open-kitchen deli café on the southern side to back onto the member’s entrance elevators, which ascend directly to the signature terrace restaurant and member’s lounge on +2.
The first floor is split between a dynamic business suite of dividable rooms and an executive office for the travelling professional; and a wooden-paneled yachting-themed café bar.
Passing the member’s floor, +3 is an open pool terrace, with an alfresco “beach bar” on the north podium, and a more intimate covered dining area to the south. For most, that completes the tour, but for those renting the unique ‘Skylounge’, the private elevator that goes direct from the yacht-only access porte cochere at -1 to +4 presents a cabana-style day suite on the southern tip of the yacht club, with 360-degree views from its elevated terraces, and completely secure service for the ultimate VIP experience.
The Yacht Club is designed in line with AMAALA’s experiential DNA
SP: Is there any impact on marine life and how have you tackled this?
Richard: Triple Bay Marina and Yacht Club are both being constructed on a greenfield rock outcrop, so there is no interference with existing marine habitats. The creation of the basin with shaded areas created by the overwater decks and pontoons is expected and planned to create new breeding grounds for sub-surface species that often do not have such secure zones in sand environments. The access channel to the new marina basin does cut through an existing reef, but the location was carefully chosen as the smallest and least inhabited section to remove, with a team from KAUST University spending months painstakingly cataloguing and relocating any corals found existing in the small section to be removed.
SP: What has been your biggest challenge on the project?
Richard: Interfacing the iconic and modernist building style into an adjacent vernacular more traditional in architectural style. As a standalone structure, the Yacht Club would not look out of place in any yachting destination, but integrating its levels, curved endpoints, elevated balconies and viewing spots into a low-rise hospitality-focused community required immense creative landscaping. How to ensure the building does not overpower the village feel, but with emancipating the significance of the arrival sequence; how to retain the unobstructed balcony views of the sea and mountains, without overlooking an adjacent property; how to draw large yachts directly into the yacht club, but not also be out staged by their air draft right in front of the terrace restaurants… it has been these adjacencies that have been the hardest to manage due to the integrated master planning approach.
SP: What is the timescale for completion of the project and where are we at now?
Richard: Despite all the challenges business continuity has been faced with, the Yacht Club is still on track for its 2024 launch. It is being constructed at the same time as the marina basin that fronts it, to ensure smooth phasing of groundworks, particularly with the basement areas that sit below the water table.