King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Jeddah

PrizeHonorable Mention in Landscape Architecture /
Firm LocationLos Angeles, United States
Lead ArchitectNick Seierup, FAIA
Design TeamRobert Lavey, AIA Gabrielle Bullock, FAIA Josephine Carmen, IIDA Ron Benson, AIA Henry DeJesus, AIA Mark Tagawa, AIA Angela Kunz, IIDA Mandi Roberts David Manzano Guy Horton Mishary Al Sulaihim Dar Al-Handasah, Architect of Record John Berry Architects, associate architect for Administration Building and Sports & Recreation Facility
ClientNational Guard Health Affairs

Midway between the international commercial center of Jeddah and the religious capital of Mecca, between an exploding international metropolis and conservative Islamic law, the King Saud Abdulaziz University bridges — literally and figuratively — timeless issues of gender, culture, and climate. Situated in a carved stone valley between two rock formations, framed on each end by the ancient and new trade routes/highways connecting Mecca and Jeddah, the University centers a ramshackle 117-acre healthcare campus containing existing Hospitals, clinical services and staff housing. A deliberate formality and symmetry creates an ordered calm, a literal oasis, in the midst of the chaotic assemblage of existing individual parts. The 1,100,000 square foot campus includes separate Colleges of Medicine, Basic Science, Nursing and Applied Medical Sciences, Clinical Skills, and the Deanship of Graduate Education, anchored with a Research Laboratory and an Administration/Auditorium/Campus Center at either end of a central axis Existing sloping topography is terraced to engage the campus with the land and give scale to outdoor space. Beginning at the East, colleges are paired opposite each other on each of three levels and are progressively lowered toward the west. In contrast to the stepping ground floors, the rooflines and unifying canopy remain constant, achieving a consistent and powerful horizontal skyline across all colleges. Courtyard building typologies rooted in climate and culture define the University at a campus scale and individually at a college level. The basic building organization locates classrooms on all floors with offices positioned on upper levels facing the Quadrangle. The architecture reflects a roughened perimeter “outer crust” of patterned concrete panels that enclose and protect a more refined and highly detailed interior courtyard. Entering the sheltered central Quadrangle, texture is removed and a consistency of color strengthens the unity of the façade elevations. All buildings are connected with covered outdoor pedestrian arcades and enclosed bridges.