The masterplan for King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh unites the Arabian urban traditions with the modern metropolis giving the Saudi capital Riyadh a public open space and a characteristic skyline with a new outstanding landmark.

The heart of the district is a transformation of the Arabian wadi Hanifa - an oasis or riverbed - transversing the area. The district will be very attractive and active, as it will comprise financial institutions, residential and recreational areas, shops, restaurants, hotels, conference and sports facilities.

The district will have 55,000 workplaces and as something unique for Saudi Arabia a monorail connects the various areas of the district. All buildings and monorail stations are linked by air-conditioned footbridges above street level enabling walking distance to all meetings in the Financial District – quite extraordinary for Riyadh.

The site in Riyadh gives a unique possibility to create smaller defined areas with different characters within the masterplan. This leads to the potential for the creation of areas with different identities, each having a character and an attractor of its own.

The masterplan for King Abdullah Financial District incorporates a variety of features that have been selected to ensure the proposed scheme achieves a standard that will be seen as a world-class example of sustainable development.

The main environmental sustainability objectives are as follows: minimising energy demand by i.a. integrating solar panels, moderation of the microclimate by shading using canopies, buildings and planting, augmented by water features; reducing the demand for potable water by using low-water-use appliances, by using shading and by irrigating vegetation from beneath to reduce evaporation. The layout of the site has been arranged to integrate with public transport as far as possible both now and in the future development of Riyadh.



Client: Public Pensions Agency
Gross floor area: 3.5 mill.m²
Site: 1.6 mill.m²
Type of assignment: 1st prize in international competition