By Anthony Blair
FURTHER plans for a remarkable eight-sided floating city which if built would be the world’s largest floating structure have been unveiled.
The futuristic project, off the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia, would be arranged around water-filled squares linked by canals.
It is part of the Saudi regime’s wider Neom project, a $500billion megacity which aims to transform the desert kingdom.
The bizarre offshore development would also contain a cruise terminal and oceanographic research centre.
Saudi officials hope the sci-fi city will help the Middle-Eastern nation diversify itself away from oil and attract more tourists.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “Oxagon will be the catalyst for economic growth and diversity in Neom and the Kingdom, further meeting our ambitions under Vision 2030.
“Oxagon will contribute to redefining the world’s approach to industrial development in the future, protecting the environment while creating jobs and growth for Neom.
“It will contribute to Saudi Arabia’s regional trade and commerce and support creating a new focal point for global trade flows.”
Glossy videos and images promoting Oxagon show gleaming white structures contrasted against the glistening blue waters of the Red Sea, intercut with stock footage of futuristic manufacturing.
The Saudi authorities claim futuristic new megacity Neom when built will be 33 times the size of New York.
Oxagon would be in the southwestern area of Neom, with half of it floating on the Red Sea, which is 500m deep on average.
According to press releases produced by the desert kingdom, the city will be solely powered by renewable energy, using artificial intelligence and robotics to create “a seamless integrated, intelligent, and efficient supply chain”.
Oxagon, with its strategic location close to the Suez Canal, is expected to be a breathtaking new “logistics hub” for Saudi Arabia.
Its designers aim to have completed it by 2030 and claim that several of its main components will be in place by 2025.
Oxagon hopes to house some 90,000 people by 2030, with the first moving in as soon as next year.
A large part of the floating city will be given over to industry, although there will be residential settlements.
Also included in the controversial Neom development will be a luxury island designed by Luca Dini Design and Architecture, and a ski resort designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, which Saudi Arabia claims will be ready to host the Asian Winter Games in just seven years.
Neom will also feature the dramatic 170km-long futuristic city named The Line.
Designed by US studio Morphosis, the spectacular mirror-covered horizontal skyscraper will purportedly house nine million people when completed.
However, the project has been slammed by experts for both its sustainability and human rights impact.
Earlier this year, experts told the architecture publication Dezeen that claims about the project’s sustainability and livability claims were “naive”.
Human rights groups have reported that three members of a local tribe who criticised the displacements due to the megacity development have been sentenced to death.
After news came out that the members from the Huwaitat tribe were due to be executed, Amnesty International’s Peter Frankental said that architecture studios designing Neom were facing a “moral dilemma” and should “think twice” about continuing their involvement in the project.
But the Saudi government has insisted that Neom will actual help reverse some of the impacts of the scheme, by rewilding lands around the megacity, and protecting sealife in the waters close to Oxagon. (The Sun)