Diplomatic Club, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The complex is known today as the Tuwaiq Palace. In 1998 it received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
Designed in a joint venture between Saudi architects, Omrania + Associates, Buro Happold Engineers (UK) and Frei Otto for the Saudi Arabian government, this building is significant in the search for ‘natural construction’. Not inhibited by conventional symbolic and prestigious ‘modern’ architecture, nor claims to eternity, Frei Otto’s rational form finding process follows natural laws, based on fundamental research and is part of a larger vision of society in harmony with itself and nature. His working medium is primarily the model which can be used to simulate form finding and optimisation processes as well as a way of communication.
Rolf Haefeli was personally involved with the project during its design (in the London office) and construction stages (as project/site architect), over a 5 year period.