FXFOWLE designs new key public building in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
FXFOWLE has six active projects within the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), an ambitious 55 million-sq-ft mixed-use urban community located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The firm’s latest project is the Museum of the Built Environment, a new key public building that explores the important role that social, economical and environmental issues play in the development of the Kingdom and the greater region.
The museum is sited on a large plaza bisected by a sunken Wadi, a pedestrian park that flows through the KAFD development. Over 340,000 sq ft is dedicated to museum functions, including permanent and temporary galleries, a 150-seat auditorium and a destination restaurant and terrace. The museum serves as a primary transportation hub for the area, housing a monorail station at its +2 level. For pedestrians it includes connections to neighbouring parcels through a site-wide network of public skywalks at the +1 level.
The Saudi Arabian world heritage sites of Madain Saleh and At-Turaif inspired the museum’s formal concepts of erosion and chiseling of a crystal rock. The programmatic distribution is expressed in the massing by creating greater solidity and opacity on the museum’s upper levels while maintaining transparency on the lower public levels. The building’s façade on the upper levels incorporates prismatic laminated glass panels which create a varied textural quality and allow day light at select controlled locations. Excavation work is currently underway on the Museum, with an anticipated building completion in 2012.