Sary ResidenceEdit profile
The Program & Site Sary Residence is an 18 storey luxurious apartment building rising in Al-Shate’ district, one of the newly developed areas of Jeddah, Saudi-Arabia. The client vision is to achieve a breakthrough in the high-class housing real-estate market of Jeddah. The program consists of thirty two 400 meter squared luxurious flats and four penthouse villas, served by a whole range of modern faculties amongst which are an indoor swimming pool, state of the art gymnasium and spa, and a small shopping center housing a number of designers stores and boutiques. The total built-up area reaches about 30000 squared meters. The site of 5336 squared meters is bordered by two large parallel streets. This location allows pedestrian and vehicular access from opposite sides of the property leading to a symmetric organization of the building layout which features twin -“north` and “south`- residential towers linked by a two storey perpendicular service podium, and topping a street facing strip mall of brand name shops. The Conceptual Problem The “high rise` solution for luxury housing in Saudi’s big cities is fairly new. This notion surged in Saudi-Arabia as suddenly and quickly as the sudden and quick modernization of the contemporary Saudi reality itself, a fact that elicits a good deal of creative challenges and a wide room for conceptual exploration when it comes to architectural design. This even seems more interesting especially when taking into consideration most of the social, religious and cultural Saudi values that did not necessarily follow the same fast pace of recent physical modern metamorphosis, or when dealing with some harsh environmental constants that are intrinsic to the specific geographical location. The high rise apartment building solution became more and more attractive to the Saudi housing clientele and consequently to the developers who sell it because of the iconic modern, hip, and mostly western image it conveys. Such an image keeps capturing the minds and souls of more and more members of the Saudi younger generation that have easier access to globalized media and more affordable world traveling. The abundance of financial means to some sectors of the Saudi society, the diminishing need for extended family housing, and the spiraling rise in land values are all other strong reasons that contribute to the increasing appropriateness of the high rise housing solution to the contemporary Saudi market, and consequently call for corresponding suitable architectural ideas. The Design Concept Given all of that, on the design level, the question then becomes how to achieve a successful marriage between such young aspirations, inevitable modern transformations, and global influences on one hand, and on the other hand the socio-cultural and environmental Saudi deepest core values that do not tend –or seem to be willing- to catch up with the speed of those transformations. It is that same very question, that same problematic conflict is what can produce new interesting architecture. That conflict has within its force the potential and the momentum of coming up with very special and unique design concepts. Designing Sary Residence, we capitalized on that potential, in an attempt to positively resolve the imposing dilemma. Morphologically, the building mass was conceived as a vertical cluster of superimposed transparent and solid orthogonal volumes sculpting a complex and yet coherent, a randomized and yet ordered, street facades. The clustered structure, seemingly random, possesses, however, a deep inner ordered organization built on variations of the values that a number of well defined design variables might acquire. Each volume, the basic unit of the clustered structure, gains its identity and specific appearance in terms of the values attributed to those design variables: its finishing material, its depth, its elevation, the space function it contains, the need for ventilation, the need for natural light, and the potential view of the red sea coast nearby. The result is an intricate tableau formed by dozens of various pixels and framed by a giant frame symbolically clad in local stones. Environmentally, the complex overlapping volumes help casting deep shadows on each other providing cooler exterior walls at any given hour of the day. Culturally, the pixilated façade, along with its inner organization, can be perceived as a representation of the multi-faceted life of the building dwellers and the deep cultural and personal values that shape such a life. It captures a shot of the human mosaics that reside inside those vertically stacked volumes. The materials used in the design of Sary Residence express the desired marriage between the modern aspirations and the rooted cultural and architectural tradition. The basic volumes of the building mass are a mix of glass, local stones, and white washed paint pixels that seem to dissolve, to unify when viewed from a distance, thus creating an intrinsic blurred image capturing the essence of the design concept, a symbolic expression of a contemporary Saudi reality. Finally, the building mass and philosophy also has roots in some of the Saudi vernacular architecture of the southern regions of Asir and Najran with their rocky clusters of multi-storey houses perched on the rugged mountain sides and taking different shapes following the needs of their inhabitants, the circumstances of the site and the local climate and materials.