Designed by Andrew Bromberg of global architectural firm Aedas, the Abdul Latif Jameel’s corporate headquarters located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is now under construction and is set to provide a centralised facility for 2,500 associates of the company.
The regional diversified business includes automotive distribution, auto-parts manufacturing, financial services, and renewable energy, among other interests.
Using a model that is unique for the country, the headquarters has adopted an open office approach, limiting hierarchy and promoting interaction.
The project is located within a 21-hectare site, north of Al-Baddad, a historical area in Jeddah, with close proximity to the airport. The site is currently undergoing a new masterplan, which the Abdul Latif Jameel’s corporate headquarters is a part of.
From the architects:
The building will anchor the northwest corner of this 21-hectare master plan also developed by the company. The facility was located at the intersection of a secondary road and the main artery connecting Jeddah’s airport to the old town and new Jeddah. The two faces of the complex adjacent to the roads are used as a buffer for the working ‘living’ spaces of the complex. Inspired by the traditional buildings in Jeddah, these ‘protective’ plaster faces are more solid in appearance, and limit the penetration of the harsh western light into the building as well as mitigate the noise from the busy streets.
These faces evolved to independent ‘L-bar’ volumes, which contain all support services including cores, conference facilities, canteens, a gym, prayer rooms and toilets. It allows adjacent offices, separated by an atrium, maximum efficiency through open planning with ultimate flexibility of space. In contrast to the bars facing the streets, the office space is contained in a soft, flowing, and highly transparent skin, reflecting the ethos of the company.
Office floors are stacked in clusters of three with intermediate interaction zone floors where users can have more casual meetings or breaks within the lounge spaces provided, creating a sense of community. At the podium roof there is a communal garden as well as a running track that meanders in and out of various spaces within the development.
The project is designed to optimise its relationship to the intense desert sun. Western oriented glass is minimised and the heavy massing resists heat penetration. The open office spaces are protected from the light by overhangs and outdoor decks. This allows a very transparent low-iron / low-e glass to be utilised while still exceeding the required shading coefficients which in turn significantly reduce mechanical loads and consumption. The stepped glass elevation allows overshadowing and shading to the lower floors. Vegetation is planted on all roof surfaces and terraces to further mitigate solar gain and enhance user comfort.