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Tour OIC Jeddah


Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC)

Design Team:

Philipp Barman, Marc Leschelier, Gabi Barman, Elena Fernandez, David Serero, Taichi Sunayama, Fabrice Zaini.


$ 120 000 000 H.T.


45 000 000 m²

“…The tower evolved around the idea of a branching atrium, which starts in the base as a rectangular floor cut out and subdivides into three atriums on its way to the top. The result is a branching void connecting all levels of the tower, creating stunning views from the base upwards and from the tower spaces downwards. The top floor levels are arranged around three ‘courtyards’, following the image the traditional Islamic palaces with their connecting courtyards. The image from below created by this atrium reminds the observer of the spectacular ceilings found in Mosques or Islamic palaces, such as the library vaults of the Masjid-i-Jami in Isfahan or the Mausoleum of Shaykh Abd al-Samad al-Isfahani in Natanz. The exterior skin of the tower follows the branching atrium system, morphing from a square footprint of 40 by 40 meters into a more irregular shape composed of four parts. The two vertical skins, one on the towers exterior façade, the other along the interior atrium are the only structure of the tower. They are a continuous array of thin steel members. The floor slabs are hung in-between these two structural ‘skins’, allowing the elevator and stair cores to be non-structural and visually opened to the rest of the floor. Each of the floors of the tower has a very high flexibility potential. The circulation cores are placed along the façade and offer a unique set of views onto Jeddah while being lifted to the desired floor. At this location, they participate also to the sun protection device and avoid warming up the tower. Here the center of the tower is not a cirulation core, it is a void, like in traditional Islamic architecture. The structure is stiffened through the implementation of a triangulated façade pattern and therefore forearmed against horizontal forces resulting from wind and possible earthquakes. Further the structure on the façade, as well as along the atrium slightly changes on its travel to the top of the tower, creating an ornamental effect on the exterior skin. This ornamental intent is strengthened by the insertion of screens in the double skin of the structure, which has also the purpose of further shading the most sun exposed areas of the tower. The tower design is fostered by our interest in bioclimatics, to create the best and comfortable environmental condition for the OIC users with the smartest use of today’s technology. First, the central atrium and the double façade system, allow for a passive ventilation, cooling and heating. By creating an air depression in this area, the interior air masses are pulled outside. Fresh air is ventilated in the office spaces artificially. In addition, a series of solar tubes following the lines of the structure are heated by the sun. The liquid they contained is sent to an heat exchanger pump which locally cools the façade. These devices offset energy costs and offer a smarter usage of renewable energies… »