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Project

King Abdullah Financial District

Designed to be the new center for Middle East trade and finance, the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) north of Riyadh is a 1.6 million-square-meter mixed-use development consisting of 30 plots connected by a series of green recreational spaces.

Lead Contact

Project Details

Project Partners
Henning Larsen Architects
Owner
The Public Pensions Agency
Location
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Completion Date
Area
Crystal Towers: 93,000 m², Villas in the Sky: 41,000 m², The Gem Building: 33,500 m²
Project Awards

Crystal Towers, Bentley Systems Award for Innovation in Building

Villas in the Sky, Bentley Systems Award for Innovation in Generative Design

Crystal Towers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Courtesy Henning Larsen Architects
Villas in the Sky in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Courtesy Henning Larsen Architects
The Gem Building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Courtesy Henning Larsen Architects

Advanced Structural & Façade Systems for an Integrated Desert City

Designed to be the new center for Middle East trade and finance, the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) north of Riyadh is a 1.6 million-square-meter mixed-use development consisting of 30 plots connected by a series of green recreational spaces. In total, the KAFD will include over 60 residential and commercial buildings, schools, hospitals and hotels as well as a mosque, elevated skywalk bridges cooled with solar power and a monorail. Upon completion, it’s estimated to be home to 50,000 residents.

We provided structural design and façade engineering services to Henning Larsen Architects for three notable KAFD projects: Crystal Towers which draws architectural inspiration from local desert rock formations, the mixed-use Villas in the Sky tower with a notable glazed, jagged curtain wall façade and The Gem Building which features two towers connected by a multipurpose podium.

Our use of BIM software for all three buildings provided several benefits including speedier modeling of complex building geometries, easier coordination with design team members, faster clash detection and resolution, easy generation of 3D visualizations of the structure and higher quality shop drawings.

Crystal Towers Crystal Towers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Courtesy Henning Larsen Architects

Crystal Towers Highlights

  • Located at the center of the redevelopment, Crystal Towers are 135 meters and 95 meters tall respectively and serve as the area’s main financial center.
  • A 70-meter elevated podium bridge links the two towers to form the gateway to the development.
  • The towers’ façade is a lightweight unitized stone system with recessed, glazed fenestration that provides shading and minimizes solar gains.
Villas in the Sky Villas in the Sky in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Thornton Tomasetti

Villas in the Sky Highlights

  • The 33-story tower consists of 13 floors of offices with 12 floors of residential units above, crowned by a sky gym, spa and roof terrace.
  • The tower’s cladding visually separates the commercial and residential programs of the building while seamlessly integrating the shifting floor plates at the upper levels and the saw-toothed profile of the façade design.
  • The latter provides self-shading to the glazed elements and minimizes solar gains and radiation.
Gem Building The Gem Building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Courtesy Henning Larsen Architects

The Gem Building

  • The mid-rise reinforced concrete towers include residential units and offices that link to two gem-shaped structures below: a two-story steel-framed structure and a concrete shell forming a single crystalline roof over a double height retail space at the ground level.
  • The Gem Building features a multi-facade system composed of an internal glass and aluminum façade for weatherproofing and a stainless steel tensioned mesh screen covering an external walkway for shading and privacy.