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February 1, 2011
NORR Group’s Saudi project responds to needs of community
Construction is slated to get under way this summer on a 290,000-square-metre development in the Saudi Arabian city of Al Khobar, one of three projects being designed there by NORR Group Consultants International Ltd.
Spearheaded by the Jenan Real Estate Company, the Jenan City development will include a mix of office, hotel, retail and residential spaces. NORR is responsible for architecture, interior design and engineering.
Conceptual design has been finalized by NORR’s office in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. International contractors with a track record on large, multi-use projects will be invited to bid. Construction cost estimates have not been released.
Completion is targeted for the end of 2013.
Reportedly the largest privately owned project currently under development in the kingdom, Jenan City includes 20,000 square metres of office space as well as a 40,000-square-metre hotel complex.
Office and hotel towers anchor the master plan. The project also includes 22,000 square metres of retail facilities in addition to apartments and parking.
With its mix of uses, Jenan City’s diversity and complexity is a microcosm of the city itself, NORR said.
Located in the heart of the kingdom’s petrochemical industry, Al Khobar is experiencing growing demand for commercial, residential and hospitality properties.
In order to respond to the context, NORR’s design team researched Saudi economic and cultural requirements.
NORR then produced a detailed project brief and a “unique” design that responds to the needs of the community.
NORR said the solution celebrates the richness and layering found in a traditional Middle Eastern city, providing open spaces, courts and gardens for shared and private use.
In order to address the requirement for density, the design combines horizontally massed low-rise buildings punctuated by towers, varying in height from 12 to 37 floors.
NORR vice-president and design director Yahya Jan said the project’s massing responds to the site’s environmental challenges.
“We used the results from computational fluid dynamic studies and physical wind tunnel models in order to locate buildings and openings to create outdoor spaces that respond to the region’s desert environment.”
He said the massing of the project, with the highest buildings in the west and openings in buildings along the north edge of the site, is intended to make the most of the prevailing winds.
A member of the Ingenium Group of companies, NORR expects to have an office operational in Al Khobar by April.
“We are delighted to have been selected as consultants for this landmark development in Saudi Arabia,” said Ingenium Group president and CEO Victor Smith.
Founded in Canada in 1938, NORR celebrated its 20th anniversary in the Middle East in 2010. In addition to Dubai, it also has an office in Abu Dhabi.
Other offices are in New Delhi, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Chicago, Detroit, Sacramento and Tampa.
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