Having designed 10 buildings in the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), architectural firm FXFOWLE Architects is certainly setting the stage for upcoming developments on the 1.6 million square meter site, situated in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Ranging from mosques and museums to residential and office buildings, the New York-based firm was handpicked by Saudi Arabian real estate developer, Rayadah Investment Company, to deliver contemporary design solutions across its various projects. However, designing for a diverse Islamic country meant that the architectural team needed to educate themselves to understand the cultural and religious nuances that define the culture of Riyadh.
Amongst the first things Sudhir Jambhekar did when he found out they were designing a mosque in KAFD, was to send two architects to gather information from the imam at New York City’s largest mosque.“We had to undertake an intense research process in order to be able to philosophically understand meanings and the importance of certain rituals. From there we could attempt to present a modern re-interpretation in our designs,” explains Jambhekar, senior partner at FXFOWLE.
For example, when designing the residential and commercial towers on plot 5.05, one of the seven plots that FXFOWLE designed for, the architects were especially sensitive to the cross views that could arise from having the towers located at close proximity to each other. According to Jambhekar, the placement of the plot was such that the office building would look into the residential building. After a series of design innovations, the designers decided to have the building’s façade fitted with a thin layer of marble laminated on a panel of vision glass so as to direct views away from the residential building. As a result, on-lookers in the commercial building will be able to see a translucent wall on one end instead of peering into the residential units.
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Image courtesy of: FXFOWLE
Written By: Zeinab Saiwalla