Museum of the Built Environment in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Courtesy FXFOWLE.

Museum of the Built Environment



The Museum of the Built Environment is a unique public building dedicated to exploring the development of sustainable architectural design and the arts specifically within Saudi Arabia and the surrounding region. Located on a large public plaza in the King Abdullah Financial District, the new museum will house spaces for permanent and temporary exhibits, office and administrative functions, a 150-seat auditorium and a restaurant, in addition to a transportation hub comprising a monorail station that connects to network of elevated walkways. Thornton Tomasetti provided sustainability consulting services during the concept and schematic design phases.

To address the challenges associated with designing a building in a harsh desert climate, the sustainability team developed a new consulting approach called sustainability programming. This strategy helped incorporate elements of low-energy design early in the programming phase that helped maximize space efficiency as well as the potential for finding more sustainable solutions for natural ventilation, daylighting and energy performance.

Solutions for thermal massing and indirect daylighting techniques were inspired by local building practices that have been used in the area for centuries. Examples of proposed solutions included an east-facing clerestory that takes advantage of natural light, a light shaft that illuminates underground parking and natural ventilation that takes advantage of cooler night air. Services also included climate analysis, biomimicry consulting, natural ventilation studies, daylighting studies, sustainability programming and materials research.

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