Six Middle East-based projects completed by major architecture firms in 2017

2017 saw the completion of a large number of high profile projects by major architecture firms such as Foster + Partners, Herzog & de Meuron, and OMA.

designMENA rounds up the top six projects by international architecture firms that made their mark on the region this year, some of which are included in our round up of the top cultural projects that opened in the Middle East this year. 

The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by Zaha Hadid Architects

The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects opened its door to the public in October of this year, appearing as a series of ‘crystalline forms’ emerging from the desert landscape.

As the architects’ first LEED-certified building, KAPSARC is designed in response to the environment of the Riyadh Plateau to minimise energy consumption – in line with the research centre’s aim to use energy more efficiently.

The modular structure, which features hexagonal prismatic honeycomb shapes, creates a composition of crystalline forms that seemingly emerge from the desert landscape. Read more about the design here. 

3Beirut by Foster + Partners in Beirut, Lebanon 

Foster + Partners has completed its first project in Lebanon in 2017, a mixed-use development made up of three towers with residential and retail offerings as well as public spaces.

Located in the Beirut Central District, just outside of the Solidere boundaries – a new regeneration masterplan for the city centre – the development responds to the site and culture of the city.

3Beirut broke ground in 2011, and aims to strengthen Beirut’s role as a centre for tourism, commerce, retail and entertainment. Read more about the design of the residential complex here. 

Bulgari Resort by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel in Dubai, UAE

The long anticipated Bulagri Resort by italian architecture firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel opened to the public this year, resembling a traditional seaside village in southern Italy.

The 1.4m square foot property is located on the seahorse-shaped Jumeirah Bay island, connected by a 300m bridge to the city’s centre.

In addition to the resort, the development also includes six residential buildings of 173 sea-facing apartments, 15 private mansions, a beach club, and the brand’s first Marina and Yacht Club.

A coral texture characterises the two main buildings of the hotel. Created on the overlay of horizontal lines, the building facade is defined by coral-like brise soleils (sunscreens) or matte white lacquered steel parapets. Read more about the design of the hotel on designMENA. 

Related storyNot having a hotel background has shaped Bulgari resort’s design language

Beirut Terraces by Herzog & de Meuron in Beirut, Lebanon 

Herzog & de Meuron’s Beirut Terraces tower was completed this year, defined by staggered floor plates and large planted terraces.

Beirut Terraces is a 119m high-rise designed as part of a masterplan around the neighbouring area in hopes of rehabilitating it. The tower sits within the plan’s portion dedicated to office and residential high-rise buildings.

The residential tower’s design fuses the natural environment with built elements, and aims to cultivate the city’s urban culture. Indoor and outdoor spaces merge into each other, allowing the generous terraces to become living spaces.

A green boulevard, too, connects the tower to its surroundings, which is taken up by the design and continued vertically into the building. Read more about the tower on designMENA. 

Related storyHerzog & de Meuron’s Beirut Terraces tower captured by Trevor Patt prior to completion

Dubai Mall Apple Store by Foster + Partners in Dubai, UAE 

2017 also saw the opening of Foster + Partners’ has newest Apple Store, located in The Dubai Mall with s a 186 foot curved balcony, featuring one of the largest kinetic installations.

37.5 foot-high panels open up to the store from the balcony side, featuring a line of motorised ‘solar wings’ that were also designed by the UK-based architecture firm.

The mashrabiya-inspired ‘wings’ are programmed to adapt to the outdoor temperature, closing during the day when temperature’s are high and opening during the night when the weather in the city is cooler. Read more about the design of the Dubai Mall Apple store on designMENA. 

Muraba Residences by RCR Arquitectes in Dubai, UAE

Pritzker Prize winners RCR Arquitectes had unveiled its first residential project in Dubai this year, located in Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah.

The Muraba Residences feature airy apartments with balconies and floor-to-ceiling glazing, framing views over the sea and the city’s impressive skyline.

Uninterrupted panoramic views informed the architecture of the project, where landmarks such as Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa and the Downtown Dubai area are visible, alongside the expansive stretch of sea and sky. Read more about the project on designMENA.