Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1998.
The Tuwaiq Palace hosts government functions, state receptions, and cultural festivals that introduce Saudi arts and customs to the international community, and vice versa. The building is enclosed by inclined curved walls, forming a sinuous curvilinear spine 800 m long, 12 m high, and 7-13 m wide, used for guest services and accommodations. It encloses outdoor sports facilities, gardens, and extensive landscaping laid out in a pattern of complementary spirals, circles, and curves, in harmony with the building's undulations. Mushrooming from the spine are tents supported by tensile-structure technology. The tents enclose the large-scale spaces: main lounges, reception areas, multi-purpose halls, restaurants, and a café. The landscape plan provides a dramatic contrast between the lush greenery of the outdoor spaces enclosed by the spine and the arid rocky plateau beyond its walls. Taken as a whole, the design makes reference to two local archetypes - the fortress and the tent - and reproduces the natural phenomenon of oases. Reinforced concrete, and steel masts and cables, comprise the basic structural materials of the building. The white tents are made of Teflon-coated, woven fibre fabric. Those facing the garden are of cable nets coated with custom-made, glazed blue ceramic tiles fastened to timber battens. The tents are enclosed by glass walls. The jury commended the building for its "architectural qualities and its setting within a dramatic landscape, the idea of a soft fortification, its hard and soft spaces, and its combination of concrete, stone, tensile structures, and landscaping."
Tuwaiq Palace On-site Review Report, edited by Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 1998.
The On-site Review Report, formerly called the Technical Review, is a document prepared for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture by commissioned independent reviewers who report to the Master Jury about a specific shortlisted project. The reviewers are architectural professionals specialised in various disciplines, including housing, urban planning, landscape design, and restoration. Their task is to examine, on-site, the shortlisted projects to verify project data seek. The reviewers must consider a detailed set of criteria in their written reports, and must also respond to the specific concerns and questions prepared by the Master Jury for each project. This process is intensive and exhaustive making the Aga Khan Award process entirely unique.