KAFD Conference Center

Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

KAFD Conference Center

Within KAFD’s urban master plan, the Conference Center emerges as one of the Financial District’s “Attractor Parcels” and iconic terminus structures. Working with SOM’s “exoskeleton” structural design, HMWhite led a team of scientists in developing a revolutionary living roof modular system that harnesses the Arabian Peninsula’s horticultural resiliency. Comprised of a custom Hypertufa growing medium and sharing the rigid growing properties of limestone cliffs, the roof is blanketed with cliff dwelling arid plant communities. The Hypertufa material and its network of modular desert plant matrices allow for flexibility across the building’s varied planes and surfaces.

Indigenous plant communities are spatially organized to blur boundaries between the building’s undulating “exoskeleton” and its surrounding desert landscape. The designed landscape references the local and ephemeral ‘Wadi’ stream bed slopes and defines shaded and cooled vegetated corridors and social nodes. Arabian Peninsula desert meadow grasses and trees emerge as the connective tissue that establishes a human scaled campus landscape. For the first time in Riyadh’s history, native desert vegetation is introduced into a public space setting. Micro-climatic and sustainable landscape management benefits abound, while the people of Saudi Arabia are reacquainted with a part of their ecological heritage.


Rayadah Investment Company

Design Team:

Landscape Architect: HMWhite
Architect: Skidmore Owings Merrill (SOM
Project Management: Hill International
Structural Engineer: SOM Structural
MEP: WSP - Flack and Kurtz
Water Features: Aqua Design


ASLA New York Honor Award

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