2nd prize | International Design Competition
Urban Planner: City Tools
A district will only be successful if people feel comfortable and like the area. Matters such as architectural quality, diversity, quality of retail, restaurants, security aspects etc. as well as environmental quality in the public realm (sun, light, wind) are essential. Optimizing these factors is probably the most important basis for an economically, as well as socially, successful development. All these aspects are important to everybody who is going to live and work in a building in this district. Sustainable development requires a design process that interconnects the interwoven dependencies on the different scales of the development and interests of the involved parties.
The interconnecting zone between the new KFAS Headquarters and the Conference Center will feature a shared space, mainly for pedestrians. This space will be shaded by a `geometric cloud`, that will echo the geometry of the facades of the new KFAS buildings. Additionally, abundant greenery will be planted along the path, to ensure a natural sun protection and a great feeling of comfort for the pedestrians. The connection between the two buildings passing through the intermodal point is split in two walks on two levels. A pedestrian bridge is created between the HUB and the Conference Center, which enables new visual connections with the water, and a direct access to the Conference Center on the first floor.
The new KFAS Headquarters
The highest and most iconic building – the new KFAS Headquarters - would take place along the walk, creating a landmark on the edge of the peninsula. The iconic building, visible from downtown, will offer a clear identity a to Salmiya and a to KFAS at a city scale. The park will extend across the new Headquarter plot, creating a plinth with a green and accessible public roof, offering great views and visibility to the Gulf. The new KFAS Headquarters will offer great flexibility to its employees and visitors; will foster collaboration through and provide adaptability that the client will certainly require in the future. The intuitive and easy access in the ground floor will ensure that all the employees and visitors fell welcome by the openness and generosity of KAFS. The first three floors will serve rather a common use, with a welcoming lobby and reception, direct connection to start-up offices and a conference rooms. The lower panorama level, separating the lower floors from the office tower, is green and public. The office tower features enclosed and open work spaces, together with shared work settings, that give an added value for staff and guests. Adaptability becomes a key design feature, allowing for the dynamic growth of the company. The main office corridor around the core services all the workstations, as well as common spaces. In order to foster the innovative potential of KFAS staff, a rich variety of work settings and location of work places is foreseen. The layout allows for the open and enclosed spaces to be located differently throughout the floors, offering maximum flexibility, and encouraging innovation and collaboration.
The Conference Center
The new KFAS Conference Center arises at the end of the extended Marina Walk, facing the public shared space on one side and sea on the other. In order to create the continuity between the shared space and the sea, the building is elevated, offering a generous entrance on the ground floor level. A recognizable, iconic volume is created, while opening the ground floor to extend the public space out and inside the building, towards the sea. The transparency is a primary feature, that plays an important role for people to feel comfortable and welcome. The final shape is ultimately optimized according to the sun trajectory and the views, creating a dialogue with the Headquarters and the shared space. The hanging garden is inserted in the cantilever as an additional feature that provides comfort and a pleasant view. The building volume is enfolded in a protective skin, that reflects the façade of the Headquarters. In contrast with the Headquarters, the function of the Conference center requires a more closed and massive appearance, hence the difference in the geometrical treatment of the façade panels. The openings are significantly smaller, but at the same time they provide the view and the light. The final aspect of the building thus becomes an iconic landmark.