Real Estate

Tower of light

Riyadh Tower ... masterpiece.

THE proposed 338-m-tall Riyadh Tower comprising 73 levels, designed by leading Japanese architect Nikken Sekkei, was among the stunning landmarks showcased at Cityscape Global in Dubai, UAE, last month.

The iconic award-winning tower will be built on a 6,800-sq-m plot of land in the Olaya business district of Riyadh, a prime location in the Saudi capital.

The mixed-use development is planned to house a 201-key five-star hotel, with indoor and outdoor swimming pools. It will also accommodate office space, retail outlets, 38 one-to four-bedroom serviced apartments, 228 private residences, penthouse units. In addition, right at the top there will be a ‘Sky Palace’ apartment, a ‘Sky Restaurant and Cigar Lounge’ affording spectacular panoramic views across the city.

“This design combines the two main themes of ‘crystal’ and light’, with the tower being crowned by crystal-shaped forms that reflect the colour of the sky transforming from blue to golden orange and then midnight blue, as day turns to night. It is simply unrivalled in all aspects of its design,” says Dubai-based Dr Fadi Jabri, Nikken Sekkei’s regional manager for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and India.

“Certainly, living up to its mission to challenge the world of architecture and to ensure every project is a masterpiece, Nikken’s design was chosen for the quality of its creative entitled ‘rising motion’,” he says.

He adds that the design was so striking that it was chosen as the ‘Best Mixed-Use Architecture – Arabia’ at the International Property Awards in London at the end of last year.

“We wanted to design an innovative, distinctive, authentic, inspirational building that would become a sustainable, quality landmark in its own right, simply put, the best high-rise building in Saudi Arabia,” says Jabri.

Riyadh Tower is not the only project that Nikken Sekkei is involved with in Saudi Arabia. It has a long history of involvement, including the design of the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah completed in 1993. More recently, its cutting-edge energy-saving technologies helped the Japanese architect to secure the design and engineering consultancy contract for the new headquarters of the Saudi Stock Exchange, or Tadawul.

The new stock exchange at the heart of King Abdulla Financial District in Riyadh, will be a state-of-the-art, sustainable and intelligent building of the future, a multi-year project during which Saudi Arabia aims to consolidate its position as the Middle East’s financial capital.

Nikken Sekkei was awarded the design contract after winning a competition involving six international companies, which had been shortlisted out of an original 32 prequalified firms.

Some of its sustainable design features include a “sunlight scooper” to introduce natural sunlight and photovoltaic panels that reduce energy consumption as well as solar shading which helps to reduce the cooling load.

To deliver natural light to basement levels and other dark interior spaces, Nikken designed light-reflecting mirrors and introduced a cool pond to store cooled air at night to reduce day time cooling loads.

One of the world’s largest architectural design firms and led by chairman Mitsuo Nakamura, Nikken Sekkei employs more than 2,500 professional staff in eight group companies offering comprehensive design, engineering, management, consulting and research and development services. The company’s portfolio consists of over 20,000 projects in 40 countries.