Heart of world’s first “non-profit” city unveiled for Saudi Arabia

Australian architect Conrad Gargett will design the headquarters of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Misk Foundation.

It will be the centrepiece of his planned “Nonprofit City”, announced in November 2021.

The 3.4-sq-km Nonprofit City will be “a regional and global centre incubating innovative, educational and creative industries”. The nonprofit sector, is located in Riyadh’s western Irqah neighbourhood, adjacent to Wadi Hanifa valley.

The Misk Foundation Centre will sit on a peninsula formed by deep ravines or “wadi”.

In it, some 6,000 sq m of offices will wrap around a central garden and public ground floor. A large covering, called a “mashrabiya” will provide shade for the area. The architect describes it as “a horizontal interpretation of the traditional Arabic timber screening device, providing a comfortable place to meet and exchange ideas”.

It added that the design strives to achieve a “spirit of place”. That means using local stone, non-reflective metal panels, and carbon sequestering hardwoods.

The building will meet LEED Gold certification through carbon-neutrality, water conscious design and natural features.

Dr Badr Al-Badr, Misk Foundation’s chief executive, said: “Every aspect of the new headquarters is specially designed to create an environment which nurtures collaboration and creativity.”

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