Assila HQ in Riyadh

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

New construction Assila Investments Headquarter & Dewaniya in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Completion: 2022
Size: plot 6,470 sqm, GFA 12,230 sqm

DAM Preis 2025 (German Architecture Museum) - Nomination

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Riyadh is Saudi Arabia's capital and the largest city in the country with a population of 7.7 million. It belongs to the historical region of Najd / Al-Yamama and is in the centre of a large plateau in the Arabian Peninsula.

The property is located in the western part of the city near the diplomatic neighbourhood of Al Safarat with numerous embassies and residential complexes. On the east side of the property is King Khalid Road, where direct access to Dewaniya and the underground car park are located. On the north side, a mosque is located on the opposite, with the driveway to the headquarters and its offices.

The new building comprises two main functions: Administration with a Dewaniya and offices, as well as an underground car park.

The building is based on the rectangular shape of the plot with two full storeys, a mezzanine and a basement. Based on the analysis of traditional architectural forms and the local climatic conditions, the new building has an inner courtyard for natural ventilation and lighting. At the same time, various functions are arranged around the central courtyard for intuitive orientation within the building. The building volume was divided horizontally at an angle and the two parts were shifted to each other. The upper part was shifted to create a naturally shaded entrance area to the Dewaniya. The ground floor houses the Dewaniya with a spacious reception, majlis and dining area, as well as a separate entrance lobby for the offices. The offices, meeting rooms and a canteen are located on the upper floors.

The façades are clad with typical local sandstone slabs in 3 different colours - beige, yellow and white. Vertical louvres clad in sandstone with different orientations depending on the direction of the sky and the position of the sun serve as sun protection in front of the glass façades. At the same time, the slats structure and give rhythm to the façades thus forming an important architectural element.  

The outdoor areas were laid out in different ways - partly covered with stone slabs and complemented with rock gardens and desert plants, and groups of palm trees in contrast to partially green lawns. The inner courtyard is also paved with stone slabs and can be flooded with water.

Client: Assila Investments
Interior: Wilson Associates
Photos : Laurian Ghinitoiu