Design Erick van Egeraat is commissioned to further elaborate the master plan and a series of buildings for the city centre of the City of Unaizah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The approved concept design provides attractive solutions for a series of challenges that the city centre is currently facing. The 58 Ha central area is surrounded by beautiful date palm plantations which provide the city of Unaizah with a strong identity. The plantations offer a green and shaded atmosphere in the desert city climate. The central area currently consists of large open spaces that are mainly used for parking and a series of retail buildings, residential buildings, Mosques and a centrally placed large shopping mall.
The proposal that Erick van Egeraat and his team are currently developing further will be implemented during the next ten years:
The first component will be a new, one way ring road with 4 lanes circling a clearly defined city centre oval with a diameter of 800 meters (East-West) by 920 meters (North-South). On the ring road, visitors pass several exits to underground parking garages. In addition, a North-South main thoroughfare crosses the development underground. This new and efficient traffic and parking system improves the accessibility of the city centre, and completely relieves it of above ground traffic. The ring road is currently under construction. This allows all above ground public spaces within the new ring road to be redeveloped into pedestrian areas. Different street widths and organically designed transitions between alleys, streets and squares provide the pedestrian areas with an appealing human scale. Generous amounts of date palms and urban furniture will provide the necessary sun shading.
Existing structures will be integrated into the new overall master plan concept. Erick van Egeraat will design the envelopes for additional buildings and a series of waiting areas at drop off and pick up points near ring road exits. Works on the architectural design of approximately 70.000 m2 of men’s and women’s shopping areas and the gold market are also ongoing. The upper floor levels of these buildings will contain small scale apartments and offices. These buildings will frame the main square in front of the mosque, marking it as the very center of the development. The façade of the dominant existing mall in the center of the project will receive a complete overhaul with vertical vegetated green surfaces and waterfalls. To ensure a unified identity throughout the city centre, the contemporary facades and compositions of the buildings throughout the development share their roots with traditional architecture.
Erick van Egeraat have released images of their design for the city center of Unayzah in Saudi Arabia. Thanks to a 4-lane ring road and an underground thoroughfare linking to underground parking, the 58 hectare site will be entirely pedestrianized at ground level, featuring 70,000 square meters of shopping areas, a gold market, apartments, and offices, all of which will join the city's existing central mosque.