Category: insights

Designing with Operations and Maintenance (O&M) in mind

Though often neglected until a building is nearly complete, O&M factors should be considered from the start of the design process and incorporated into the program, budget, and technical design of each project. Ultimately, for both architects and owners, successful O&M comes to define the legacy of a building as much as the quality of…

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4 Millbank: How Omrania Renewed a Historic Building in the Heart of London

  Thirty years ago, Omrania was commissioned to renovate a prominent 1916 office building in the City of Westminster, London, just steps from the UK Houses of Parliament. The successful project at 4 Millbank involved a combination of historic preservation and innovative design.   Working in complex urban environments is a challenge that Omrania enjoys.…

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Metro Station Construction Update

  The Western Station of the Riyadh Metro continues to take shape on its 11.7-ha site. The progress on the steel structure will allow for the installation of the building enclosure and systems in the coming months.   Construction is advancing steadily on the Western Station of the new Riyadh Metro, a 110,000-square-metre transit center…

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The Story of Omrania’s Headquarters Building

  The Waha Office Building in Riyadh, home to Omrania and other companies, demonstrates Omrania’s ability to innovate through high-performance design while respecting the urban context.   Tucked into a triangular site in a mixed-use neighborhood, the Waha Office Building does not immediately call attention to itself. Its 3.5-story height and clear-cut geometry fit in…

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Transcending Tradition: Tuwaiq Palace, 20 Years After the Aga Khan Award

  It’s been two decades since Omrania’s collaborative design for the Tuwaiq Palace was honored with the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in the 1996-1998 cycle. We take a look back at what the judges found so remarkable about this landmark project.   The design of Tuwaiq Palace came out of an international competition organized…

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Engineering and Details: The KAFD Grand Mosque

. The mosque’s crystalline structural enclosure integrates all of the building’s systems, producing a consistent architectural experience from exterior to interior.   The KAFD Grand Mosque’s contemporary design adapts traditional Islamic architectural principles to complement the modern architectural language of the KAFD and respond to the desert climate, as discussed in our previous post. Here,…

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The Multiple Meanings of Function in Architecture

  The importance of function has been enshrined in architecture since ancient times. But what is the nature of that function? We identify five distinct kinds of function that can, at best, be interwoven through skillful design.   The primacy of function in architectural design appeared as early as the 2,000-year old treatise by Vitruvius,…

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Designing a Civic Landmark: the Saudi Embassy in Jordan

  Overlooking Amman from a terraced hilltop site, the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Jordan forms a diplomatic “acropolis” that reflects an ideal of timeless dignity.   Omrania was honored to receive the commission to design the Saudi Embassy in Amman. The embassy’s Classically bold design is animated by a series…

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Green Walls: How Technology Brings Nature Into Architecture

. Architects are collaborating more and more creatively with botanists to create vertical gardens and true living walls in which plants can thrive without soil—enhancing the architecture and the environment. By Peter Bogaczewicz, Senior Architect There was a time, not too long ago, when the sight of plants climbing up walls or emerging from building…

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Innovations in concrete: self-healing, programmable, and translucent

. Scientists and researchers are developing ways to make concrete — the most widely used building material in the world — more efficient, which could transform the building industry in Saudi Arabia and around the world. By Mukhtar Ibrahim, Head of Structural Department and Ahmed Alkadri, Senior Structural Engineer   There’s a long history of concrete construction…

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Landscape and Architectural Preservation in Salam Park

Salam Park, the landmark 25-hectare public space designed by Omrania with Aukett Fitzroy Robinson, offers a compelling case study in the role of urban context and heritage issues in landscape architecture.   Salam Park is not just a “green space” in the center of Riyadh, but a reservoir of history and a catalyst for urban…

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Cooling a Skyscraper In the Sun: The Kingdom Centre’s MEP Design

  Omrania has always strived to push boundaries in our work, and we’ve been quick to embrace new technologies in order to explore new possibilities.   When the Kingdom Centre was completed in 2002, it was not only the tallest building in Saudi Arabia; it was also the most advanced, featuring state-of-the-art engineering and building…

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