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PRINCESS NOURA BINT ABDULRAHMAN UNIVERSITY, RIYADH Te newly opened US$5.3 billion Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University is located on the outskirts of Riyadh and is the largest women-only


university in the world, covering 800 hectares. Te new campus includes a 700-bed university hospital, 15 colleges, a central library, a conference hall, a collection of state-of-the-art laboratories and three research centres for nanotechnology, information technology and biosciences. It also comprises staff housing units, student hostels, primary, intermediate and secondary schools and recreational facilities, plus administration buildings. Designed by Dar Al- Handasah, no less than 38 of the campus buildings are seeking LEED accreditation for energy conservation measures that focus on external shading and occupancy control. An Islamic sun-screening system has been used to reduce solar impact and measures to save electricity are already seeing a reduction of up to 40 per cent, with campus-wide savings on water consumption of 35 per cent. Local plant life has also been used throughout the campus. Te university also has its own high-tech transport system with automatic, computer-controlled vehicles that link major areas of the campus with people movers covering a 14-kilometre stretch in total. Continuing the green theme, campus buildings also have 10 to 50 per cent recycled content in steel rebar and structural metal.


VERTICAL MEDINA, RIYADH Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the Vertical Medina is a


mixed-use residential, office, and retail development set within the under development King Abdullah Financial District, that flips the traditional Arab medina city form – with its interlocking alleyways and courtyards – on edge, to create a rich vertical network of shops, offices and residences. Te structure, clad in limestone from local sources, is comprised of 55 luxury residential apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms, with a total area of 18,000 square metres. Apartments occupy the top six floors of the building while the lower seven floors offer Class A office space with a total area of 21,000 square metres. Retail shops line the street and plazas surrounding the building. Te design synthesises new and old, utilising passive sustainability and living approaches interpreted in a contemporary way, providing a new model for living and working in the city. Te deep recesses of each courtyard located within the Medina shade the primary exposures.


In the urban context of this high-rise district of Riyadh, the vertical


courtyard terraces serve the same needs as a traditional medina, and provide outstanding views of the city. Each apartment has its own private courtyard, and these are interspersed with open-air gardens that are designed to be shared. Tese shared courtyards serve as garden terraces for the fitness centre, an event room, and children’s play area. Te glass façades of the residences are clad with operable shading screens, similar to the mashrabiyahs found in traditional Arab cities, and provide further shading from the sun and enhanced privacy. Te project is due for completion in late 2012.


NOVEMBER 2011 I CITYSCAPE I 27


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