Formally announced in 2006, the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is a nearly 400-acre area north of central Riyadh that will include more than 32 million sq ft of development at full build-out. The KAFD is designed to include premier office space, housing, a financial academy and recreational facilities. The Saudi Public Pension Agency is both the land owner and prime developer, largely through its Rayadah Investment Company. Local firm Omrania & Associates is providing architectural and engineering advice to the owner on 10 design-build parcels, including the hotel site.
The KAFD hotel is located on the east side of the district and sits directly adjacent to a wadi, a dry, manmade riverbed that organizes the overall development district and provides the main pedestrian circulation and recreational promenade. To the west, the site faces a public square.
The hotel is designed as a prism-shaped tower with a nine-story opening that separates programmatic functions and allows for views and light to penetrate the mass of the building. The podium structure houses the hotel amenities and conference facilities and links the building to its surroundings at the pedestrian level. The podium incorporates a multipurpose hall, restaurants, a spa, outdoor gardens and a rooftop terrace.
As part of the overall KAFD master plan guidelines, each building façade that faces the wadi must be faceted in its design. The hotel’s slender north façade, therefore, responds to this directive with an undulating, faceted skin; the south façade features a similar expression for consistency while also giving the building a dynamic, changing appearance from every perspective. The project is designed to achieve LEED certification and is scheduled for completion in 2011.