Kempinski Rafal Tower

PrizeWinner in Architectural Design / Tall Buildings
Firm LocationLisbon, Portugal
ClientRafal Real Estate Development Co. (Muhaidib/ Aramco/ Abunayyan)
Project Videohttp://

The concept of the tower takes on the premises of the prototypical 1960s glass skyscraper, reminiscent of buildings like the Seagram Tower by Mies or the Lever House by SOM/Gordon Bunshaft, from which slots are randomly subtracted, creating a series of iconic sky patios which intensifying its sculptural form while retaining a highly efficient floor plate. Given the development of curtain wall technology, the introduction of a vertical mullion caps is paradoxically today an anachronism that can only be justified by the romantic allusion to the skyscraper of the modern era. The retail plaza on the podium is an open-court galleria that captures the relaxed spirit of Tahlia Street -Riyadh’s busy dining hub -, and it comprises a 2-storey shaded galleria conveniently accessible from street level. Devised as a cascading amphitheatre, it is shaded by a system of tree-like free standing pergolas. Design-wise, the plaza echoes the organic curves of the Brazilian landscapes of Burle-Marx bringing a tropical lightness to the podium. The small office building occupying the far North corner of the plot is conceived almost as if it were a vertical extrusion of the swaying curves of the plaza, creating an undulating facade towards King Fahd Road.