The design of the Academic Colleges at Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University uses innovation as a means of giving back to and transforming society. This translates into a vision of community, sustainability and innovative learning environments in one of the most socio-economic and politically complex regions in the world. The Academic Colleges are comprised of nine buildings at the heart of the newly created 8,000,000 sm (86,000,000 sf) University Campus.
Designed for a student population of 40,000, Princess Nora University will be the largest university for women in the world. The University will provide courses in all major academic disciplines and includes the Academic Colleges, Health- Sciences Colleges, 450-bed Teaching Hospital, on-campus Housing, K-12 School, central Mosque and Library and Sports Facilities.
Saudi Arabia’s culture, architectural tradition and regional climate present a rich context for the new University. The Academic Colleges respond to these criteria while promoting advances in learning environments and building technology. The design process included an in-depth analysis of site, program and regional culture in order to achieve a deep understanding of the project context. This understanding of context as ‘place’ informed an architecture that responds to the region’s architectural heritage, materials and proportions and creates innovative learning environments for a changing society.
The GFRC shading screens are designed to shade the building from direct solar gain, provide visual privacy for building occupants by respecting the cultural requirement that the women within the campus could not be seen by men on the periphery, and create a culturally relevant architectural expression for the campus. The geometry of the screens is based on classic Islamic motifs and symbolism and creates a dialogue between the traditional architecture of the region and the contemporary architecture of the campus.
The Academic Colleges will utilize approximately 80,000 sm (800,000 sf) of the shading screens which will account for an overall reduction in building energy consumption of 3.5% (13% reduction in heat gain on the exterior envelope).
Architects: Perkins & Will
Project: Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University
Square Footage: 600,000 sm