Group IAD unveil designs for Jeddah's open-air oasis
The United Office Building is a mixed-use development of 175,000 m2 whose aim is to become a landmark for the entrance to the city of Jeddah, providing richly landscaped spaces, public shopping galleries, world-class rental offices, spa facilities and restaurants.
The separation of the tower structure into two halves, further accentuated by the horizontal displacement of the blocks creates a tension that has been resolved by the torsion of the inner façades that bridge the 15m void and create a suspended atrium within the building envelope, as well as a monumental ogival-arched barrel vault below, a feature reminiscent of monumental Islamic architecture. This symbolic roof-space creates a protective vault for the oasis garden below.
Conceived of as a semi-public garden, this area is covered by the vaulting of the façade structure above
and suspended as a bridge between the tower cores. Tropical vegetation, water features, seating and picnic areas create an attractive rest area, visible from the food court and with views over the roof garden towards the sea.
The concavity of each tower’s inner façade creates and affects both interior and exterior spaces. Below the arched vault is the oasis garden and within is the business centre café and suspended sky-gardens. The atrium space created provides many possibilities for an efficient management of air flows within the natural ventilation concepts to be employed.
The building’s technical prowess is manifested by apparently subtle structural and architectural features (novel façade and tower design), lighting effects (nighttime illumination and the world’s largest active LED façade) and state-of-the-art building intelligence (natural ventilation, façade-cleaning, recycling, etc). The giant main structural façade (100x140m) uses Arabic tessellations to create effects of differing depths, shadows and rhythms.