MINISTRY OF SOCIAL AFFAIRS 2015-2016 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
GFA 27.000 sqm, $28.000 millions, 6 storeys Design: Mattia Malavenda in collaboration with Consulting Engineering Group Client: Ministry of Social Affairs
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Social Affairs located in Riyadh is a building of the 90s and certainly obsolete regarding the sizing (office departments and employees) required in the new governmental organization system 20 years hereafter. As well the technologic systems and architectural solutions, with consequent low levels of internal comfort in the working spaces.
During the pre-design stage is also considered the possibility to demolish the existing building and rebuilt a new single complex.
The first option, eventually approved, consist in the expansion of the existing Ministry with a new construction of 27.000 sqm (2/3 of the total GFA), in which all the main ministerial departments, the Minister and the Deputies’ offices, will be moved in from the old building.
The two buildings, the new and the existing, are connected by two pedestrian bridges at the second floor and the new expansion is subdivided, analogally to the existing, in three blocks, visibly bigger in term of volume than the one faced.
In net constrast with the old Ministry, which the design intention was to have it "floating" on a sort of heavy podium at the ground floor, the new is conceived to extend as much as possible the public character of the building and the public realm of the ground floor.
At the ground floor, between the two buildings, is created a courtyard surrounded by a portico and a reflecting pool at the center of it.
The portico is all around the perimeter of the new expansion and internally is completely glazed, enhancing the lightness of the building and the character of public offices.
The architectural design of the new building dialogue with the existing especially continuing the citation of the Najd arcade corner/capitel details.
In general the architecture appeal to the athmosfere of the Najd architecture style but maintaining a modern and sustainable approach, for instance with the use of sun shading systems and the large use of glazing, always calibrated for the internal funtions conducted by the occupants.
One of the goal of the Project, is to achieve high levels of performance regarding the indoor environmental quality and in particular focused on daylighting, lighting and sun-shield technologies, contributing synergically to reduce the energy load of the building for HVAC and lighting systems.
The new Ministry of Social Affairs expansion building aims to become a reference for the contemporary architecture, always striving to find a dialogue with the culture of past and with traditional patterns.
Specifically, the design of the new, doesn't overwhelm, with its bigger volume, the past, it continues in line with some concepts - like repeating the same rhythm of the windows/arcade corner details - but criticize the rigidity and opacity, in fact the new it opens to the people - and in this case to people with life difficulties - symbolized by the portico and the openness of the ground floor.