Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
This expansive family compound, comprised of a main house, dewania (office) and several smaller buildings, is sited across 14 acres in the Arabian Desert. A dramatic, 100-foot-high sandstone embankment forms the northerly backdrop to the site. The owner’s goals of simplicity and minimal water usage are achieved by restricting landscape development to a series of modestly-scaled plinths, each with a particular use and character: garden, pavilion and grove. These elevated spaces are connected by simple footbridges hovering above the desert that together form a modern interpretation of the traditional promenade and allow a procession of movement aross the site. Contrasting with the soft desert landscape, this geometric composition is especially dramatic at night, as low level lighting abstracts the forms of the structures. Formally and experientially, the promenade presents a striking juxtaposition of precise, orthogonal geometry against the rough irregularity of the desert, exaggerating the qualities of each and allowing the inhabitants to experience each landscape type with more immediacy and intensity.