Sir Norman Foster. Image by Rajesh Raghav / ITP Images
ITP Images
Sir Norman Foster. Image by Rajesh Raghav / ITP Images

Norman Foster suspends role in $500bn Saudi project

Norman Foster has temporarily halted his work with an advisory board overseeing the planning of NEOM, a $500bn cross-border, mega-city project in north-west Saudi Arabia that shares marine land with Egypt and Jordan.

One of 18 ‘global experts’ participating in the advisory board, which also includes former Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick and Italian architect MIT professor Carlo Ratti, Foster told the Architects Journal that he is now stepping away from the project.

The released statement read: “Earlier [last week] Lord Foster wrote to the head of the NEOM advisory board, stating that, while the situation remains unclear, he has suspended his activities in respect of the board.”

A spokesperson for Ratti further confirmed that “the board [was] not currently working”, and that “both Carlo and our team are gravely concerned about the Khashoggi case, and are waiting for the results of the US investigation to evaluate the best course of action”.

Other members of the board are also stepping back, such as Ernest Moniz, the former US Secretary of Energy under US President Barack Obama, who has stated similar reasons.

NEOM is one of Saudi Arabia’s most ambitious projects, spanning 10,200 square miles and extending along its Red Sea coastline. The first phase aims to be completed by 2025.