Institute of Diplomatic Studies


Winner of Institutional & Cultural Project of the Year, this scheme will provide Saudi’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) with a new 46,000m2 building to house facilities for the Institute of Diplomatic Studies and Consular Affairs Department. Located in Riyadh, next to a large park and the monumental Nasseriyah Gate, the building contains an auditorium, lecture halls, library, classrooms, offices, a large hall for visa applicants and office space.

The concept

Resembling a veil, the façade is composed of a pattern which is designed to adapt to climatic conditions. Pedestrians will be able to sense internal activity through the veil, and the entrance and visa hall are designed to appear welcoming. Shading is provided by a composition of triangles which lean in and out from the vertical plane. The angle of the shading opens the façade to the north for optimum daylight without direct sun impact. In order to harmonise with existing MOFA building, the façade will be clad in natural stone with a sparkling finish.

The details Internally the project contains overhanging decks and a ‘stepped oasis’ over three of the five levels. Each of the steps and decks are twisted at an angle of 45 degrees to the façade. With its abundance of green vegetation, the oasis will provide an attractive internal environment, in addition to generating oxygen and reducing internal temperature.

In order to provide the optimum indoor environment, the lighting levels, acoustics, air temperature, and internal humidity will be carefully controlled while energy usage is minimised by the exterior envelope. All offices and classrooms are placed along the four façades to maximise daylight.

Common facilities for the Consular Affairs Department and the Institute of Diplomatic Studies, such as the lobby, cafeteria and library, are placed on the oasis. Due to the angle on the stepped storeys, these facilities will enjoy direct light and views to the existing MOFA building.

Architect: Henning Larsen Architects/Buro Happold Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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