Zaha Hadid wins competition
for Saudi Arabian metro station

King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station by Zaha Hadid Architects

News: Zaha Hadid Architects has won a competition to design a metro station for Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital.

King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station by Zaha Hadid Architects

As part of Riyadh's all-new public transport system, the station will be located on the edge of the King Abdullah Financial District and will function as a major interchange between three of the city's six new metro lines.

King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station by Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects has planned the four-storey structure with six platforms, as well as two floors of underground parking. A network of pedestrian pathways will snake through the building, designed to minimise congestion, plus passengers will be able to access the city's monorail network via a new bridge.

King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station by Zaha Hadid Architects

The walls and roof of the building will appear as a series of undulating waves interspersed with curved Mashrabiya screens. The architects describe it as "a three-dimensional lattice defined by a sequence of opposing sine-waves".

King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station by Zaha Hadid Architects

The project is due to complete by 2017.

Other buildings by Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid in the Middle East include the Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi, as well as proposals for a performing arts centre in Jordan and an office and retail development in Egypt. See more architecture and design by Zaha Hadid.

Here's a project description from Zaha Hadid Architects:

King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station

The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Metro Station will serve as a key interchange on the new Riyadh Metro network for Line 1, as well as the terminus of Line 4 (for passengers to the airport) and Line 6. The local monorail can also be accessed from the station via a skybridge. With six platforms over four public floors and two levels of underground car parking, the KAFD Metro Station will be integrated within the urban context of the financial district, responding to the functional requirements of a multimodal transport centre and the district's future vision. The project extends beyond the simple station typology to emphasise the building's importance as a dynamic, multi-functional public space; not only an intermediate place perceived through quick transitions, but also a dramatic public space for the city.

King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station by Zaha Hadid Architects

The design places the station at the centre of a network of pathways, skybridges and metro lines envisaged by the KAFD master plan. Connectivity diagrams and traffic across the site have been mapped and structured to clearly delineate the pedestrian routes within the building, optimise internal circulation and avoid congestion. The resulting configuration is a three-dimensional lattice defined by a sequence of opposing sine-waves (generated from the repetition and frequency variation of station's daily traffic flows) which act as the spine for the building's circulation. These sine-waves are extended to the station's envelope and strictly affiliated to its internal layout, translating the architectural concept to the exterior.

Location: Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Date: 2012/2017
Client: ArRiyadh Development Authority

  • Gugenheim is next

    Will there be female train conductors? Thought so.

  • Gugenheim is next

    What I’m actually trying to say is:

    For somebody that finds herself in the press every other week talking about how women need more encouragement in architecture, lamenting misogyny, etc., Zaha Hadid sure does build a lot of stuff in one, if not the most, oppressive country for women on the planet.'s_rights_

    • mmmhhh

      Ah, finally something clever said about her besides the like/dislike war.

    • DTF

      This is a very interesting point, but it by no means should be a criticism of Zaha's ethics (not sure if this was your intention or not). If anything, an office headed by a woman designing a high profile civic project in a country that is so oppressive to her gender could be viewed as a highly subversive act, and a potentially inspiring symbol to women in the country.

      • christine

        Totally agree with you on this. Boycott is not an option, being pro-active and showing the Saudis that a Persian, Muslim woman can build amazing Arabic contextual architecture is great. Moucharabie and fluid roofs like Bedouin tents.

        • Gugenheim is next

          She is from Iraq, and not Persian. And yes, boycott can be meaningful as well, especially if you run around moaning about inequality for women in architecture. You should at least be able to open your mouth when working in a country that engages in gender apartheid of the most despicable sort.

          • Bernie Bernake

            Is that why there are so few women employed in ZHA?

            There's a lot of guff written about her stand on issues as a woman where, in reality, she's just another opportunist who will work for any Joe who pays a fee.

          • Staff

            You clearly don’t work here do you Bernie, because if you did you would see that there is a very even split. Enjoy.

  • Ray

    Can only be described as undulating vulvas.

  • Omar

    Along with UNStudio, Zaha Hadid is one of architecture’s true luminaries! Bravo and congratulations to the people of Riyadh!

    • gudruncordula

      What has this to do with UNstudio? Are you the UNStudio marketing guy?

  • rodger

    She needs to be more involved with her projects. This one is a confused mess. Sorry.

  • Joe

    Not her best. The interior is cool though!

  • It makes all other transport buildings look so dull. I think an architectural tour of the Middle East is in order!

  • John

    End of the Zaha era, this project is complete mannerism. Interior space is okay, but exterior…

  • Liz

    Yet another Frank Gehry blob – oh! Sorry, I meant Zaha.

  • Mohammed

    If history has any credibility we can be sure that none of the concepts characterised in the photos will materialise while the budget for the project will miraculously disappear.

    You are not in Kansas.

  • Mariane El Ghrayche

    Enough is enough.

  • Joel

    The interaction with the street edge looks a bit unresolved.

  • JayCee

    Aren’t the Saudis bored yet with every Tom, Dick, and Sally architect using mashrabiya screens to reference the vernacular and thus – as if by magic – make their random blobs and shards somehow “contextual”.