top of page

Family Compound

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


The project brief was to design five villas of similar program, all approximately 15,000sf each, with a central reception building of approximately 10,000sf. The interior of the site would be dedicated to dense gardens creating shade and a usable outdoor environment. The site was a city block in the center of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Privacy was the greatest design determinant. Starting at the perimeter of the site and working inward, the design was about layering and introversion. Great care was taken to allow no views into the site and the villas from adjacent properties.


The Villas

Designed around an enclosed central court, the three level buildings are designed as two distinct performing systems. The first is the insulated concrete structure and stone cladding that is environmentally controlled and the second are the screening elements which are used to reflect light, reject heat and allow for discrete framed views of the garden spaces. Over the central court, screening comprised of solid and translucent elements modulate light and keep the heat outside of the building envelope. Overlaying the roof and auto court is a glazed photovoltaic array providing energy for lighting and cooling.


The Reception Building

A 21st Century Bedouin tent designed for banquets and receptions, this is the public space of the complex. The image of the building is characterized by an oversize cantilevered roof structure clad in ETFE. Walls, screens and glazing appear to float between the ground plane and the roof. All mechanical and lighting is contained in the roof sandwich or in the floor slab.


The Gardens

The gardens are the spaces between the structures; shaded pathways that begin and end in small unique spaces defined by walls, water and lush greenery. The centerpiece of the garden is a glass pavilion space for family and friends. The client’s only requirement for the garden was to “create paradise.”



Interior Courtyard with Layered

Screens. Interior courtyard is

enclosed with obscure glazing.

The entire complex looks inward with minimal openings to the exterior of the site are allowed.

The Reception Building is designed with the large cantilevered ETFE roof. The 21st Century Bedouin tent.

The Garden Pavilion the glass tent

Physical Model showing the detail and density of the block

Auto Court with sunscreen overhead. Photovoltaic panels are integrated into the sunscreen.

bottom of page