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United Nations World Tourism Office (UNWTO)




United Nations World Tourism Office (UNWTO):
Company: Dar Al Omran Saudi Arabia
Architects: Dr. Sami Al Sabbagh, Dr. Rasem Badran
Instagram: @dar_al_omran

Project Status: Complete
Year of completion: 2021
Location: Diplomatic Quarters, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Service provided: Architecture, Engineering, Landscape & Interior Design + Supervision
Construction Cost: 20,000,000
Built-up Area: 3000 m2

Project Description:

2021 - “When you’re Designing an office, you’re Designing character, and character is the strength and wisdom of an office.”

The Design of this project is a visual and conceptual representation of the ministry of Tourism’s vision, inline with vision 2030 promoting Saudi Arabia is one of the top countries in the world. The United Nations World Tourism building is meant to showcase a rich national identity that is deeply rooted, and nurtured by the tourism sector for future generations to come.

The UNWTO building is located at the Diplomatic Quarter of Riyadh city, one of the capital’s most prestigious districts. Accommodating numerous embassies and diplomat missions, the area’s strategic planning is thought to include a comprehensive development that is easily accessible from the city. The concept behind the design of this building focuses on the notion of luxury spaces where the passion for the finest experiences is achieved. An integrated contemporary office with a design that forms a dialogue between the interior and exterior was maintained by the choice of natural materials such as the Riyadh stone.
Marked by high levels of modernism, comfort and security, the UNWTO building includes state-of-art facilities that accommodates contempered lifestyles.

Concept Statement

Inspired by alleyways of old neighborhoods, the void between the two buildings creates a path that connects the two buildings visually and functionally to one another. The sharp angles in the façade imply a dramatic and gravity defying feel, which creates unusual shadows that cast on the floor overlapping shapes.
Drawing from these characteristics of the building’s architecture, the interior will be integrating these elements and translating them through material, form, and ambience.
Influenced by the exterior finishing material – local rough stone accented with sleek glass and sharp cut metal, the interior finishing materials will be a balanced juxtaposition of refined, local, and raw. Irregular shadows casted from the sharp lines of the exterior will be reflected into the interior through the use of dark colored surfaces & accents, creating a shadow-like effect all day long.
The building’s exterior points upwards -inspired by peaks and valleys of the country’s topography; this implies height and verticality. This aspect will be emphasized in the interior in order to create a harmonious user experience as interior spaces blend seamlessly with their exterior envelope.
The overall interior design of this building takes into consideration the well-being, comfort and experience of the user to create an inspiring atmosphere be it through the right choice of materials, a healthy spatial program and circulation.

1. Primary purpose of the project:
“When you’re Designing an office, you’re Designing character, and character is the strength and wisdom of an office.” The Design of this project is a visual and conceptual representation of the ministry of Tourism’s vision, in line with vision 2030 promoting Saudi Arabia as one of the top countries in the world. The United Nations World Tourism building is meant to showcase a rich national identity that is deeply rooted, and nurtured by the tourism sector for future generations to come. The purpose was to design and supervise the construction of a state-of-art office building for the UNWTO staff.

2. Social impact:
The UNWTO building is located at the Diplomatic Quarter of Riyadh city, one of the capital’s most prestigious districts. Accommodating numerous embassies and diplomat missions, the area’s strategic planning is thought to include a comprehensive development that is easily accessible from the city. The concept behind the design of this building focuses on the notion of luxury spaces where the passion for the finest experiences is achieved. An integrated contemporary office with a design that forms a dialogue between the interior and exterior was maintained by the choice of natural materials such as the Riyadh stone. Marked by high levels of modernism, comfort and security, the UNWTO building includes state-of-art facilities that accommodates contempered lifestyles. The building site is also open to the public as there are no fences removing any barriers and thus integrating with the social fabric of the area.

3. Engineering:
In order to get back to the basics of designing a durable building that responds to climate, site and the use of local materials—what we would call a truly sustainable building—we needed to expand on the idea that architecture is not just an aesthetic activity, rather it’s much more an integrated engineering design process developed across various disciplines. natural light intrusion was maximized through the addition of skylights and using innovate glass technology that allows the light in without heating the building in the summer. this helped keep the heat in or out of the building, and reduce external noise. Energy light is a medium-reflectivity glass with a neutral appearance designed to be used in façade glazing and, in the premium, built environment market. high light transmission ensures the room is filled with large amount of the natural light. it is a product from the range of multifunctional glass products combining the characteristics of low-emissivity and solar-protection glass.
Summary of energy light glass technology:
excellent energy efficiency and solar protection: efficient reduction of air conditioning costs
low solar factor - prevents the building from overheating due to solar energy transmission and ensures the greatest possible comfort for occupants
optimal external reflection - gives the building a unique look
neutral appearance - combines perfectly with deep colors of solar control coating

4. Delivery:
The delivery of the project was a challenging one as the construction time frame was constricted to five months only. Dar Al Omran, being the lead consultant, designer, and project management entity, was responsible for the construction supervision and ensuring the contractor’s submittals, progress, and Health Safety Environmental (HSE) matters are met. This including a strong team of experienced consultants from DAO from all architecture, structural engineering, MEP engineering, Landscape and Interior Design disciplines. As the project was a fast track, our consultants were available on site alternatively to cover all three shifts consuming 24 hours of construction per day. Moreover, ensuring the contractor has all the materials covered by the chosen suppliers was an important aspect for DAO to follow up to prevent any delays in the project. Successfully, the project was handed over in time and all challenges were overcome by a team of highly professional consultants.




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