Australian architecture firm Conrad Gargett has won an international competition to design the Misk Foundation Headquarters in Saudi Arabia. Mohammed bin Salman Foundation, “Misk”, announced the competition for the new headquarters, which will be located in the Prince Mohammed Bin Salman "Nonprofit City" within the Irqah neighborhood in the capital of Riyadh. The new city, spreading over 3.4 square kilometers, and launched in November 2021, seeks to empower youth and support innovation and entrepreneurship, and become a model for the development of the non-profit sector globally and an incubator for youth and volunteer groups as well as local and international non-profit institutions. One of the declared goals of the City and Misk is to transition from an oil-based economy to a knowledge-based economy.
Situated on a peninsula formed by deep ravines or “wadi” within the city, the new headquarters feature outdoor gardens, places for meeting and relaxation, that open toward expansive views of Riyadh’s skyline. The triangular shape of the building is orientated to Wadi Hanifa and the capital of Riyadh. It consists of approximately 6000sqm office spaces developed around a central garden and a publicly accessible ground floor. The public functions available on the ground floor, like cafes, exhibition spaces, and functional areas, create an active environment for the occupants.
The generous gathering spaces surrounded by the Forum Garden are shaded by an overscaled ‘msharabiya’ - a horizontal interpretation of the traditional Arabic timber screening device, providing a comfortable place to meet and exchange ideas. All of the interior spaces are opened toward the internal courtyard. In contrast, the exterior of the building features a protective sculptured enclosing wall. According to the architects, the exterior façade references traditional Najd architecture by creating a play of light and shade on its tessellated surface.
The building will also be seeking an IWBI WELL Gold rating in tandem with the LEED Gold certification. The WELL rating relates to spaces that enhance human health and wellbeing, while LEED is a globally recognized green building rating system. The Misk Foundation Building is expected to be completed in 2025.
Conrad Gargett is an Australian-based architecture and design office. They have recently revealed the design of a Mixed-Use Complex Designed for Suburban Queensland. While the project idea began as a typical transit-oriented mixed-use development, The development caught the attention of retirement living operators and transformed to address a gap in accommodation options for seniors in the local region.