Ring road and underground street remove vehicular traffic from Unaizah city centre
A new city plan for Unaizah in Saudi Arabia has been unveiled by (Designed by) Erick van Egeraat. The architecture studio’s concept design for the City of Unaizah has been approved and the team is now working on further developments to the masterplan and associated new-build structures.
Initial designs include a ring road which encircles the 58-hectare city centre. This one-way road would comprise 4 lanes of vehicular traffic and create a continuous elliptical circuit with a diameter of 800m (east-west) and 920m (north-south).
This one-way system would be coupled with a north-south underground road which would pass beneath the centre of the city. Both the above- and below-ground routes link to underground parking garages, eliminating vehicular access to the main city centre. Work on the ring road has already commenced.
The team explains: “This allows all aboveground public spaces within the new ring road to be redeveloped into pedestrian areas. Different street widths and organically designed transitions between alleys, streets and squares create pedestrian areas with an appealing human scale.”
(Designed by) Erick van Egeraat credits the abundance of date palms outside the city centre with Unaizah's ‘strong identity’. As such, the team intends to reference the date palm plantations within the site boundary by planting ‘generous’ amounts of the trees in order to provide shade throughout public spaces.
Within the limits of the city centre are retail buildings, residential structures, mosques, and a major shopping mall. The new plan provides a modern façade for the mall, incorporating vertical green walls and waterfalls to bring it up to date. Additional volumes around the main square will also be transformed by (Designed by) Erick van Egeraat.
WAN will be discussing issues of urban mobility at World Architecture Day (WAD14) in Shanghai this coming November. Click here for more information and details of how to reserve your place.