Al-Birr Foundation Office Tower, Riyadh by Perkins+Will

Al-Birr Foundation headquarters and office building. An intriciate and symbolic yet practical approach to an office tower that responds to a harsh environmental climate.

For the Al-Birr Foundation’s new headquarters, Perkins+Will reinterpreted the typology of an urban tower in the spirit of Le Corbusier’s explorations of the brise-soleil, calibrated to the extreme solar exposure and heat conditions of the microclimate of Riyadh. The design employs innovation in elevation and section, rather than plan, as the generator for functional solutions as well as symbolic analogies to Saudi historical precedents—the minaret, the garden, and the mashrabiya—all emblematic of the Foundation’s altruistic mission to protect, replenish, and speak for needy children and families.

Simple orthogonal floor plates ranging from 1000-1200 square meters simplify leasability, office partitioning, and construction methodology, while the dynamic section provides temperate microclimatic terraces, stack effect cooling, and a continuous hanging garden from entry plaza to the rooftop terrace.

The tower’s intricate enclosure is formed of lightweight glass-impregnated photocatalytic precast concrete supplemented with fly-ash. Beyond structurally supporting the tower, it controls solar and heat gain, preserves dramatic views to the city, and operates as a light shelf diffusing system. Calibrated to the changing sun angles, the perforated northern elevation allows for views and cooling breezes and transitions to primarily opaque at the southern elevation. Illuminated internally at night, the enclosure’s apertures result in a scintillating pattern of light; a literal inversion of the solar-regulating function of the tower enclosure during the day.

Area: 590,000sqft

Al-Birr Foundation Office Tower Award
AIA New York State, 2007 : Design Award of Merit

Al-Birr Foundation Tower Riyadh images / text from Perkins+Will 150908


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