Skiing in the middle of the desert? That is the concept behind Ski Saudi, a proposed 34,000-square-meter enclosed snow park and ski slope at the Mall of Saudi. Ski Saudi will act as a cultural anchor to the mixed-use development with the aim to attract both regional and international visitors seeking snow sports and winterlike experiences.
We were engaged to assist with the concept review for the design by CallisonRTKL. The 550-meter-long envelope is an architectural expression that focuses on user experience and interface with snow. The faceted, wedge-like form references Penitentes ice formations, and its shape is informed by analyses of space usage, experience and energy use.
- We utilized structural design features that mimic bridge construction for the long-span structure.
- The enclosure has a maximum height of 95 meters, including a 33-meter end-span cantilever, maintaining clear spans as wide as 78 meters.
- A feature “Y” shaped box-truss system supports the elevated portion of the structure.
- Environmental challenges are mitigated using photovoltaics, geothermal systems, and a cladding composed of sand and mortar prefab panels, intended to allow the skin to breathe.