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Capita Symonds plots Saudi expansion

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AJ100 big-hitter Capita Symonds is targeting Saudi Arabia for a raft of new design work following a recent project win in the country

The company is currently working up designs for a £20 million mixed-use development on the east coast of Saudi Arabia in partnership with local firm Ghassan Holding.

 The 4,600m² scheme marks the first significant design contract Capita Symonds has won in the Gulf.

Design director Chris Boyce said it was a critical project for the UK firm and could open the door to several more in the region.

‘We have project managed and consulted on projects in the Gulf but this is one of the first major design contracts in the region,’ he said.

‘Without any question we hope to win more. We are keen to expand our business in the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia is a key market place. We see it as the most viable.’

Saudi Arabia is an oil rich state and it is also friendly to ongoing investment

Boyce said Saudi Arabia had huge potential for buildings work as it had the money of the Emirates but not yet the infrastructure.

‘It is a very undeveloped country outside Jeddah and Riyadh. The project we are working on is just an hour’s drive from Bahrain but it feels like a six-hour flight away.

‘Saudi Arabia is an oil rich state and it is also friendly to ongoing investment.’

Boyce said Building Information Modeling was being used extensively on the commercial contract, which is for an unnamed private client.

The scheme features six floors of open plan office space, retail units on the ground floor, and a gymnasium and spa facility.

The design features a triple skinned facade with chevrons of stainless steel set apart as a grid by a thousand individually LED-lit faceted acrylic crystals.

The roof is formed as a carefully balanced wing with tapering edges to all sides and has a gold leaf soffit to reflect light and activity on the top floor, which in turn features a carefully designed prayer space as well as boardrooms and private offices.

Work is expected to start on site in spring with the project due for completion in 2013.

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