Category: insights

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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Form and Context: The KAFD Grand Mosque

As the spiritual center of the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh, the design of the KAFD Grand Mosque reflects its modern context, the desert environment of Saudi Arabia, and the traditions of Islam.   Since the foundation of Islam in the seventh century, mosque architecture has evolved to reflect various civic and sacred…

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4 Elements of High-Performance Building Envelopes

  A facade shouldn’t just dictate how a building looks, but how it works — especially in the harsh climate of Saudi Arabia By Meshal AlButhie, Architect   With every project, Omrania strives to design unique, high-performance building envelopes that are appropriate for their context. The envelope must be able to withstand the forces of…

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Inside The New Hilton Riyadh Hotel And Residences

 . The 5-star hotel and apartments complex offers the best in contemporary living. Designed with today’s cosmopolitan clients in mind, the new Hilton Riyadh is refined, understated, and sophisticated. It comprises 645 hotel rooms and 221 furnished apartment units with exclusive access to upscale amenities. The architectural design was developed in a joint venture of…

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More than a Metro Station

 . When Omrania won an international competition to design the Arriyadh Metro Western Station, we focused on making it a more than just a useful and comfortable place for commuters and travelers. It is a civic landmark with mixed-use attractions and public spaces.   The Western Station is a signature multi-modal hub for the new…

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Beyond Masonry: Sustainable Materials for the Building Envelope

. Sustainable building practices require an understanding of each material’s embodied energy and expected energy performance over the life of the building.   Picking up on our recent post “Sustainable Materials — Building with Earth and Stone,” here we expand the discussion to include other types of building facade materials commonly used in contemporary architecture.…

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Omrania Classics: Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry

. A catalyst of Riyadh’s spectacular growth, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry headquarters, designed by Omrania, was completed in 1983.   The eight-story office building is composed of glass-enclosed cantilevered volumes set within a granite-clad frame. Although the design is clearly modern, the square plan, central atria, prominent use of stone, and symmetrical facades…

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