The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) today launched the AlUla Design Studio (UDS), a new public service that will play a core role in the urban regeneration of AlUla’s public realm.
This first phase of regeneration in AlUla South will focus on creating more green public spaces including parks, playgrounds, and playing fields, with the revitalised Wadi AlUla as a connecting thread.
RCU is focussed on elevating AlUla town as a model of urban planning, regeneration, and quality of life in Saudi Arabia. To this end, residents of AlUla South are being offered the tools through UDS to choose the way their properties contribute to the quality of life in AlUla.
The studio offers those looking to build residential or commercial properties a range of design templates. Drawing inspiration from traditional Arabian architecture such as shaded inner courtyards, open rooftops, free-flowing fresh air, and natural light, these templates can be mixed and matched to enable residents to realise their dream property. By integrating modern sustainable technologies and building materials, the designs further ensure comfort, liveability, and quality of life, while their embrace of the colours of AlUla itself ensure that they stand in harmony with the town’s history, heritage, and environment.
The designs also maximise the use of space on each plot of land, efficiently providing residents with homes designed to meet their families’ needs and ensuring that all new buildings contribute to a more community-focused AlUla. Wider boulevards and shaded walking areas will also be created, leaving room for public green spaces; all connected through the natural thread of the revitalised Wadi AlUla.
The templates align with the new user-friendly architectural guidelines recently released for AlUla residents and landowners looking to build properties. These guidelines, which also emphasise sustainable building materials and integration with infrastructure, are available to download from the UDS website. Residents can kick-start the development of their new home or business by visiting the UDS website at http://uds.rcu.gov.sa for full information, and appointing an architect via Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs' "Balady" website as the first step in applying for a building permit.
Abdulaziz AlAqeel, Chief County Operations Officer at RCU, said: “This is the first opportunity for the community of AlUla to build not just the homes they desire, but to shape the town around them. The community here have long been custodians of AlUla’s history and heritage, with the UDS tools and architectural guidelines this is an opportunity for the community to become custodians of AlUla’s future too. This is a chance to establish AlUla as a role model in Saudi Arabia for community-guided urban planning, regeneration, and quality of life – all in line with the wider realisation of Vision 2030.
“The process very easy, Residents just need to visit the user-friendly UDS website for full information and to appoint an architect via Balady. A dedicated team of experts will then advise residents and their appointed architects. Further help is also available through the RCU Contact Centre on 920025852.”
Urban development of this kind is part of RCU’s Framework Plan to improve AlUla residents’ quality of life, driven by the Governor of RCU His Highness Prince Badr bin Farhan’s commitment to the community of AlUla. The development will encompass upgrades to telecommunications and infrastructure, including the expansion of Prince Abdulmajid Airport to welcome 400,000 visitors annually; services, including double the number of primary and intermediate schools, and a new healthcare clinic; and, expansions to the urban green environment such as 53,000m2 of “pocket parks” as well as new playgrounds and sports fields.
Stephen Murray, Chief of County Zoning and Planning at RCU, said: "We are committed to making AlUla a better place to live, work, and visit – for this generation and those to come. Part of that is now in the hands of the community of AlUla as it makes use of the UDS, but at the same time we are going to be undertaking a major expansion of shared spaces in AlUla. Supported by the regenerated Wadi AlUla, which will provide a natural, walkable town, we are developing a range of public green spaces suited to the local climate. In keeping with our new architectural guidelines, these will all be in walking distance of AlUla’s homes.”