Adrian Smith: Excited about the opportunities that the urban landscape presents in Saudi Arabia

The international designer said that the Kingdom megaprojects will be the key to achieving its ambitions in economic diversification

International designer Adrian Smith said that Saudi Arabia is moving very fast today to become one of the developed countries, as it witnessed an unprecedented transformation and tremendous growth since the start of “Saudi Vision 2030” in 2016, which attracted the attention of world.

Smith explained that he is very excited about the ample opportunities awaiting designers and architects to shape the architectural landscape in the Kingdom, creating more advanced buildings and contributing to its growing success. In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, designer and partner at Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill Architects stressed that Saudi Arabia has worked to diversify its economy without relying on oil, so the big projects it has unveiled in recent years will be key to achieving its ambitions, emphasizing that the size of these projects, their innovative designs and construction method will play a key role in launching new sectors in the Kingdom.

The company “Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill” has worked on the design of several projects around the world, including the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in the UAE; And the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, in addition to the Al-Wasl Dome at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Collaboration and project plans

In Saudi Arabia

The international designer revealed that he is looking forward to collaborating and providing architectural services to Saudi businessman Abdulaziz Al-Turki, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rawabi Holding, Nesma & Partners and Magnum Real Estate Company, at a time when he plans to work with other investors to develop large projects worldwide. The area exudes the unique architectural aesthetics for which its brand is known.

Architectural design developments

He explained that architectural design has evolved over the years to become more diverse and sustainable, from the design of small spaces to famous and large buildings, today’s engineers and designers are more aware and more interested in the environment – a precise trend in the light of growth. in carbon emissions and their ongoing impact on the safety and well-being of future generations – They therefore continue to explore the latest technologies, environmentally friendly materials and energy efficient practices in their design concepts.

Moreover, architects are increasingly interested in human-centered experiences and design concepts that take into account the relationship between urban structure and people needs. When designing for a country like Saudi Arabia, climate and geography play an important role. , and engineers and designers need to create concepts that take into account the religious and cultural characteristics of the country.

Designer Smith continued: “As Saudi Arabia continues its transformation in line with its ambitious leadership vision and support for the mega-projects taking place in the country, it is important to combine functional and design aspects while ensuring that costs remain under control. , and from a functional point of view, the local climate plays a big role in the design. ” .

“For example, it is very important to take into account the conditions and directions of the sun, and for this reason we want the buildings to benefit as much as possible from the local environmental context in order to ensure the protection of their users and even energy. “generation when possible,” he said.

environmentally friendly

Regarding Saudi Arabia’s strategy to achieve zero neutrality by 2060, and clean energy initiatives such as green hydrogen for its megaprojects, and considering these aspects in the early stages of design, Smith said: “With buildings that contribute to the generation of about 40 percent of global. Carbon dioxide emissions each year – 25 percent From construction operations, in addition to 11 percent of building materials and construction works – looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions in buildings that at the design stage will be crucial for achieving the Kingdom’s climate goals.

He added, “Since Saudi Arabia is currently implementing many major projects; So it is important to work with government and developers to keep their carbon emissions to a minimum. Developers and designers can help address the climate challenge, whether by understanding the energy requirements of projects, doubling the use of renewable energy in workplaces to reduce dependence on public electricity grids, and assessing energy use goals for each area and generating electricity to reach them. , and determining the tendencies of the locations of buildings and urban structures in relation to the climate ”. From a design point of view, it is important to work with energy engineers and modelers from the earliest stages of design to improve the exterior structure of the building, to integrate advanced mechanical systems into its structure, and to evaluate production opportunities. of renewable energy. In our buildings, we try to generate the energy needed for it to function and reduce the carbon footprint of building materials. ”

Pandemic effects

Global designer Adrian Smith said: “Technology is enabling more and more hybrid methods of working from home, office and other spaces, and one of the key solutions to keeping pace with this transformation is to develop mixed-use living environments while their spaces are designed in a way that encourages employees to walk in and address the issue of emissions reductions. ” He added, “Workspaces in any environment should be designed and designed to facilitate technology-based interaction, such as video conferencing, in addition to supporting the proper use of equipment. At the same time, environments work must continue to promote face-to-face interaction, which remains a necessity. ”

He continued, “This need stimulates innovation within traditional work environments to include equipment such as access to outdoor spaces, parks, entertainment, etc. “Architectural design must take into account advanced technologies to take advantage of these opportunities.”

new project

He stressed that he will work on his new project in Saudi Arabia to integrate previous principles; The building will be mixed use with different office spaces, retail stores, restaurants, cafes, etc. He added, “The design will support easy access to outdoor spaces and other amenities, as well as expanding exterior views and providing the maximum amount of daylight in all workspaces. The building will rely more on on-site power generation through integrated solar energy systems for lighting, charging electric vehicles and other building needs.

He stressed that the exterior wall will be designed to provide added shade to reduce solar heat gain and reduce dependence on cooling solutions that cause emissions, as these solutions, along with water storage and reuse systems, are part of a comprehensive design approach that meets the platinum category standards of the Energy Leadership and Environmental Projects system.

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