A major challenge was to develop the geometry in such a way as to support a column-free internal environment. All of the loads are transferred through the structural skin, and the skin supports a flying mezzanine by means of hanging supports.
The skin is a tessellated stone, which enhances the notion of crystals in keeping with the design principles for KAFD as a whole, and in so doing complementing the Henning Larsen Master plan.
A landmark within a ‘forest’ of skyscrapers, the building represents the spiritual centre of the Master Plan and serves as the Jumu’ah (Friday) mosque for the visitors and residents of the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD); an all-new mixed-use district in Riyadh.
The inspiration and basis for the unique geometry of the mosque are the crystalline intersecting plates of a desert rose. The building is further landmarked by two sculpted 60m minarets. The development of the design involved a series of complex parametric arrays to ultimately create a simplified and dynamic massing which represents an abstraction of the desert rose. This form and movement in stone extend to the 5th elevation completing an exciting profile, viewed from all angles. The skin of the building appears to rise up from the earth as an emerging crystal mass, bursting from the earth. In the same way, the minarets appear to rise up, piercing the landscape.