riyadh, saudi arabia (2005)
site area: 3.9ha
type: offices, hotel, retail
the riyadh business centre comprises a series of different-sized towers aggregated together on the city’s central axial block to form a coherent ensemble. the composition developed as a specific expression of the site’s complex planning and height restrictions, which derived from the aggregation of three distinct sites with different planning and development criteria.
the gently sloping landscaped ramp or ‘canyon’ gives access to the lower retail level and food and beverage facilities, whose enclosure shifts throughout the year’s dramatic changes of climatic conditions. this allows for closed environments during days of extreme heat and more open, external connections and circulation possibilities during the many months of more moderate temperatures. this space also acts to integrate the buildings although they appear with distinct addresses at the main ground level.
the perforated aluminium skin of the facades provides for an efficient and effective sun screening surface, assisting greatly with the environmental and climate controls of the buildings. the bevelled and chamfered edges of the towers form visual connections and link back to each other. the veiling facades appear as singular and distinct surface textures, animating and giving life to the buildings as the patterns change according to the viewer’s orientation.