Ramlat Juman

Affordable Terrace Housing, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

A new model for affordable terrace housing were designed for this client as part of a larger scale master planned residential development in Saudi Arabia.

Modular concrete panels were explored as part of the desire to create a contemporary housing design which still reflects the culture, privacy requirements and environmental elements of the heat and dust.

Saudi Arabia is going through incredible social changes, with a growing middle class with aspirations for more contemporary living environments. We were engaged, and I led a small design team developing new housing typologies that could be constructed in factory conditions and located in the desert communities and growing towns around Saudi Arabia.

Key design criteria was climatic responsiveness to the harsh and hot climate and privacy for the women occupying the residences. Internal courtyards were incorporated into the designs to create private outdoor spaces that could be cooled with vegetation and water fountains, in essence creating a small oasis for each family. The external walls were solid masonry and we integrated geometric ‘Mashrabiya’ screens to screen the windows and openings.

Small pools and water features provide relief from the heat and also calming acoustics for the courtyards. Due to the intense heat for most of the year, it was decided that modular in factory construction made a lot of sense as they could be built any time of the year in clean, cool factory conditions where quality could be easily checked and maintained. Clients could inspect their houses during construction and then once completed they would be transported to their community.