Riyadh Residence

Residence for a Prince

This was not only an exciting challenge but a once in a lifetime experience. The call from a Prince from the house of Soud came to the office and the Receptionist who took the call took days to recover. The reason he called us was because he had seen an article on the Wandich house in Architectural Record. The visit  to meet the Prince, view the site and discuss the Prince’s vision for the house was unforgettable.
The desert is hot, dry and surprisingly green in places. The site for the house was a finger of land which sloped down into a ravine on either side and overlooked a green Wadi with date palms and desert flowers. The form of the house was driven by the shape of the land, the fact that there had to be a women’s side and a men’s side with a common meeting area in the middle. The Prince also wanted a separate guest house similar to the Wandich house spanning the ravine on the West side. We also used the house to act as a dam and created a small body of water behind the house which would fill up from time to time whenever it rained. After it rains wild desert flowers bloom for a short time and then lie dormant until the next rain.
The concept was the creation of an ellipse with the house at the top, a garden wall and walkway completing the ellipse with a Gate house at the bottom of the ellipse. The south facing walls (roof in this case) are solid and would have solar panels and PV panels mounted to the roof. Large glass walls faced North and a large lattice out door deck provided out door living and views over a lower deck, swimming pool and the Wadi below. Precast insulated concrete panels mixed with the desert sand for colour was the dominant exterior finish along with glass. We wanted the desert to continue up and over the house like a sand dune.