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PROJECTS IN FOCUS SIX OF THE BEST


From Riyadh’s emerging financial district to a new mixed-use development in the heart of Makkah, the Kingdom’s landscape is being transformed as Government visionaries challenge the development community to design new commercial, residential and cultural spaces for the next generation.


MUSEUM OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT, RIYADH


A cultural focal point within the city’s under-development King Abdullah Financial District, the FXFOWLE-designed museum will house a collection of artworks offering a symbolic interpretation of the historical development of the arts and architecture in the Gulf; showcasing past and present trends in sustainable thinking and their influence in shaping the future of the built environment. Te Saudi Arabian world heritage sites of Madain Saleh and At-Turaif were the inspiration for the museum’s formal concepts of erosion and chiselling of a crystal rock. Centrally situated in a plaza, bisected by a sunken wadi which functions as a pedestrian park, the museum’s 104,000-square-metre site includes a gallery space, a 150- seat auditorium, restaurant and terrace with a series of interconnected spaces set around a cascade of viewing ramps. Te museum also serves as a primary transportation hub for the area, housing a monorail station with connections to neighbouring parcels through a site-wide network of public skywalks. Te upper levels use prismatic laminated glass panels and the building skin maximises transference of light while minimising the detrimental effects of the desert’s direct sunlight. Excavation work is underway, and construction is scheduled to begin in early 2012 with an estimated completion date of 2014.


KINGDOM TOWER, JEDDAH


At over 1,000 metres and covering a total construction area of 530,000 square metres, Kingdom Tower will be the centrepiece and first construction phase of Jeddah’s US$25 billion Kingdom City development. Te mixed-use tower will feature a luxury hotel, office space, serviced apartments, luxury condominiums and the world’s highest observatory. Designed by Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill, Kingdom Tower is set to top Dubai’s Burj Khalifa with an extra 173 metres of record-breaking height. Te design combines high level technology with a distinct organic feel as the tower’s slender, subtly asymmetrical massing is reminiscent of a bundle of leaves shooting up from the ground — heralding a burst of new life and growth for the surrounding area. Te three-petal footprint has been designed to accommodate residential units with the building’s tapering wings producing an aerodynamic shape, Te project will feature a high performance exterior wall system that will minimise energy consumption by reducing thermal loads. In addition, each of Kingdom Tower’s three sides features a series of notches that create pockets of shadow that shield areas of the building from the sun and provide outdoor terraces with stunning views of the city and Red Sea. Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2012.


24 I CITYSCAPE I NOVEMBER 2011


Photo courtesy © Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture


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