FXFOWLE designs new key public building in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
FXFOWLE has six active projects within the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), a new 55 million-sq-ft mixed-use urban community located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. One of the firm’s projects in the KAFD is the Museum of the Built Environment, a key public building which will explore the important role that social, economical and environmental issues have played in the development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region.
The museum’s vision is to provide space to exhibit works related to the symbolic interpretation of the historical development of the arts and architecture in the peninsula, and in particular how past and present trends in sustainable-thinking are shaping the future of the built environment.
The museum is sited on a large plaza bisected by a sunken Wadi, a pedestrian park that flows through the KAFD development. Over 340,000 sq ft will be dedicated to museum functions, such as permanent and temporary galleries, a 150-seat auditorium, and a destination restaurant and terrace.
The museum serves as a primary transportation hub for the area, housing a monorail station at its +2 level, and provides connections to neighbouring parcels through a site-wide network of public skywalks at the +1 level. The Saudi Arabian world heritage sites of Madain Saleh and At-Turaif inspired the museum’s formal concepts of erosion and chiseling of a crystal rock. The programmatic distribution is also expressed in the massing by creating greater solidity and opacity on the museum’s upper levels while maintaining transparency on the lower public levels.
The building’s façade on the upper levels are made of prismatic laminated glass panels which create a varied textural quality and allow day light at select controlled locations. FXFOWLE is completing design development and construction documents while the project has already started excavation work. The museum is expected to be completed in 2014.