The building plot: The hotel site is located in central Al-Khobar, a city belonging to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and next to the road access to Bahrain. Its strategic location makes it a very attractive area. Both the city and the metropolitan area of the Eastern Province are currently growing. Due to the features of said metropolitan area, our proposal for the hotel is to create an icon for the city, so an attraction pole is to be created for all the different kinds of customers who may come to visit it.
The conditions: The hotel should have enough room for a wide range of clients, such as the following: those businessmen travelling for work who need a proper space to both live and work for a couple of days; those families that are eager to spend time together, either for a holiday or at the weekend; those companies in need of a place to either contact new customers or do new business in the country; those people looking for a nice place to both relax and have fun, and any prospective visitors looking forward to enjoying the city and finding a modern and comfortable accommodation during their visit.
The project: There is a twofold aim of the building regarding its design. First, a shiny geometric body is to be made, thus creating a reference point for the city. Then an inner open space will be suggested in order to provide the hosts a place for privacy—a city oasis. Those floors housing the hotel rooms enclose said central space and stack vertically, creating interwoven visual bows. Garden decks are integrated in each floor, thus joining to the green, the colours, and the light bathing the inner courtyard.
The construction: A perimeter structure featuring inner pillars and trays is designed. Each floor has an external envelope made of perforated sheet that plays with an irregular geometry. The whole ensemble allows every visitor to see how floors become disorganised and lead to inner spaces displaying great richness. Said spaces are used to place some common features inside the hotel, such as a swimming pool, a garden, or a deck, thus creating a vertical programmatic core. The façade is projected featuring perforated sheet, thus favouring both the circulation of air and the incoming natural light from the outside while establishing a filter that allows a certain degree of intimacy.
The functioning: The hotel has two subterranean levels in which the parking area is located. The ground floor is designed to be the most public one, since it is intended to welcome the visitors in the hotel. The main entrance, the lobby, the rest area, and the dinning room are located in this floor. If we keep moving up, we find the mezzanine floor. This floor is intended to be the working area, since several meeting rooms and a restaurant—that also provides bar services—are housed here. The leisure area is located in the second floor. It offers three main spaces: a gym, a spa, and a health area with an outdoor swimming pool and a chill out area. Next to these facilities, an area for the children and another one devoted to prayer were set in the brief. In this floor, the swimming pool fills the central space and the rest of areas surround it. The same layout is used in the other floors, thus creating a vertical axis that acts as a link between the hotel’s common and private areas. From the third to the twelfth floor of the building, the hotel rooms are to be found.
Energy efficiency: One of our priorities is energy efficiency. In order to apply the appropriate measures, a preliminary analysis of both the geographic location of the project and the extreme conditions that the building is bound to endure should be performed. In this case we are in Al-Khobar—a city located on a big plateau surrounded by oases, by the sea, and near to a big desert. Because of said location, the area can reach sweltering high temperatures, so both active and passive measures will be integrated in order to achieve a highly energy-efficient project.