With a population of more than 5 million, Riyadh, is both Saudi Arabia’s biggest city and its capital city. Experiencing rapid growth, Riyadh’s population has more than doubled since 1990. City planners announced in July 2012 that Riyadh will build a new public transport system to serve its fast-growing population. The government shortlisted four consortia to build a metro system in Riyadh, and in December of that year, the government announced that the new Public Transport Commission will be established to regulate public transport services and private investment in the sector.
King Abdullah has instructed the new Riyadh Metro be completed in four years. Prince Khaled bin Bandar, the governor of Riyadh, said the project is progressing according to plan.
The ArRiyadh Development Authority has released details of the city’s public transport plan including six metro lines that will serve as the backbone for public transport in the city:
1. Blue line: The 44km long line will serve the Olaya-Batha-Hayer axis and will include 39 stations.
2. Green line: The 22km long line will move along King Abdullah road, linking KSU in the west to King Fahad Stadum in the east. It will include 14 stations.
3. Red line: At 45km, it is the longest line. It will be constructed along Madinah, with the old train station in the middle of the line.
4. Orange line: It will link King Khaled International Airport to the new King Abdullah Financial District, with stops at Princess Norah University and Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University.
5. Yellow line: The 26km long line will be constructed along King Abdulaziz Road and will include 26 stations.
6. Purple line: This line will server eastern Riyadh and will feature 9 stations
The 20,434 sq.m. King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Metro Station will serve as a key interchange on the new Riyadh Metro network for Line 1, as well as the terminus of Line 4 (for passengers to the airport) and Line 6. The local monorail can also be accessed from the station via a skybridge. With six platforms, over four public floors, and two levels of underground car parking, the KAFD Metro Station will be integrated within the urban context of the financial district, responding to the functional requirements of a multimodal transport centre and the district’s future vision.
The project extends beyond the simple station typology to emphasize the building’s importance as a dynamic, multi-functional public space; not only an intermediate place perceived through quick transitions, but also a dramatic public space for the city. The design places the station at the centre of a network of pathways, skybridges and metro lines envisaged by the KAFD master plan. Connectivity diagrams and traffic across the site have been mapped and structured to clearly delineate the pedestrian routes within the building, to optimize internal circulation and avoid congestion.
The resulting configuration is a three dimensional lattice defined by a sequence of opposing sine-waves (generated from the repetition and frequency variation of station’s daily traffic flows) which act as the spine for the building’s circulation. These sine-waves are extended to the station’s envelope and strictly affiliated to its internal layout, translating the architectural concept to the exterior.
The façade patterning reduces solar gain while it’s geometric perforations contextualize the station within its cultural environment. The overall composition resembles patterns generated by desert winds in sand dunes, where multiple frequencies and repetition generate complex natural formations.
The King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station applies a discrete subset of elements which are correlated through repetition, symmetry, and scaling; optimizing the design while simplifying technical challenges without compromising spatial quality or design ambition.