Models show complex Saudi roof design in detail


The intricate designs of a roof of a new large-scale financial centre for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia –  which have been hailed by its designers as the most complex ever assembled – can be seen in close up via a series of models.

Architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill put together plans for the so-called “megaroof” which was so innovative it received an award from the American Society of Landscape Architects before completion.

Models of the initial design were constructed in 2011 by 3dr Models which has worked on some of the most prestigious projects in the world, including Zaha Hadid’s Tokyo Olympic stadium and Foster + Partners airport in Hong Kong.


They show the design of the 165 enormous reinforced steel triangles which are connected using 98 joints forming the overhead covering of the massive structure.

Engineer Dr Luca Frattari said the design of the joints are one of the most complicated he has ever encountered as they must be able to endure the harsh effects of the weather of Saudi Arabia while maintaining structural integrity.

Frattari, from engineers Altair has been outlining technological breakthroughs in simulation for the design and construction industries in Dubai, staged by WorkLogix Middle East.

He explained that the KSA roof  must withstand harsh winds and temperature swings, which make loads tough to estimate.  So SOM wrote scripts for Altair’s software to test loads automatically, speeding up construction, a process which Frattari says could help in many complex projects.

The structure is part of an overall plan to establish the Saudi capital as a leading financial centre. It is one of the major investments in Saudi building and infrastructure by its government, which is also committed to building housing, educational facilities, hotels and improving transport.




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