Saudi Diplomatic Quarter | Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Natural Resources Defense Council
Development Resource Center
Willingboro Public Library
Private Family Foundation
Biwaike Golf Club
SUNY New Paltz, Wooster Hall
Mount Hope Community Center
Located in the heart of the Diplomatic Quarter of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the multi-level complex of the Ministry of Tourism, offices, restaurants and parking represents a fresh paradigm for the 21st Century—inspired by a new liberalism and the demands of an expanding international community. The written brief for this project required that the complex embody sustainable design values and be an exemplar of future-directed design to facilitate renewable energy—despite the country’s abundant fossil fuel supply.
Intended to advance opportunities for tourism, the twin buildings and their environs have been designed to encourage public interaction and to draw a diverse population to their multiple business and cultural facilities. Travel has been traditionally the prerequisite of the well-connected and the wealthy—not available to the greater population. The Ministry of Tourism project is an immense first step in an endeavor to reach out, to modernize and to create enhanced opportunity for an expression of humanistic values. The most revolutionary feature, perhaps, allows for a new framework of communication between men and women in the workplace, while still respecting their historically separate roles through design concepts of arrival, departure and support facilities.
The buildings are sited amid date palm groves forming a continuum with their cultural and historic context. Indigenous plantings reflect the miniature park/greenway characteristics repeated throughout the in-situ master plan. Traditional, shaded rooftop gardens offer tranquility and a place for contemplation and prayer away from the bustle of life coursing through the public areas, while the central courtyard forms the business core of this urban complex, and in the evening, the community’s outdoor ‘paseo’ or place of rendezvous.