The Red Sea Astrarium (Astrarium) represented an opportunity to demonstrate Jordan’s commitment to innovation and sustainable development. Resort developments, particularly those that target a global audience, increasingly reflected the global interest in sustainable development. The Astrarium would be the forefront of sustainable resort development by implementing Arup’s infrastructure recommendations.
The Astrarium was planned to be a 184-acre entertainment resort and virtual reality theme park showcasing the rich cultural history and future of Jordan and the Middle East. Situated on a soaring plateau close to the Port City of Aqaba, the park would include four hotels, an entertainment district, a man-made saltwater lagoon, and two waterfront areas, one anchored by a ‘Star Trek’ themed attraction.
Arup was brought in to provide infrastructure planning and design of the development’s energy, water, wastewater, solid waste, mobility and logistical management systems, presenting the team with a number of challenges. The site would have been located 200 metres above sea level in the mountains bordering the Red Sea, meaning it had no natural source of potable water thanks to the region’s arid climate. The development itself would have had a substantial energy demand due to the array of attractions and amenities.
Our team’s goal was to make the development as self sufficient as possible in terms of water, energy, and waste. To reduce the burden on Aqaba’s potable water supply, the Astrarium sought to utilise seawater for the lagoon and also for cooling at the onsite energy centre. The Astrarium’s solid waste strategy called for the source separation of organics and recyclables with all organic waste (food, sludge and green waste) being treated onsite with the resulting compost used within the landscaped areas of the development. The Astrarium’s energy strategy aimed to maximise the onsite development of renewable energy and was complemented by the development of best practice energy demand reduction measures.