'Kasr Al Hokm' means 'Palace of Justice'. Kasr Al Hokm district, within the original walled city, was the hub of Riyadh's administrative, commercial and religious functions. It contained the Kasr Al Hokm itself, the Grand Mosque, the Masmak Fort, and the city bazaar. During Riyadh's expansion into a metropolis, Kasr Al Hokm district suffered from a congested road and infrastructure network. Buildings became dilapidated, and the area declined.
In the 1980s the Arriyadh Development Authority planned to re-establish the area as the city centre, with new central administrative and religious buildings, modern infrastructure and extensive landscaping, all encouraging private commercial development.
Buro Happold was initially appointed as construction manager for the Dirah Souk, a two-storey shopping and financial complex with fabric roof canopies.
Then, in 1984, the practice became engineer and project manager for the design of the three major public buildings forming part of the second phase of redevelopment, as well as researching the form and location of walls and gates to the old city, by then mostly destroyed. The practice subsequently worked with local architects on the rebuilding, in traditional construction, of sections of wall and gates.
Throughout the design, a consortium of consultants met to ensure compliance with urban design criteria and compatibility of specifications. The second phase began in March 1988, with Buro Happold appointed as lead consultant to a site management team comprising client and consultants. Work was completed in 1992.
The Justice Palace provides 35,000m2 of floor space on seven levels, for offices, reception rooms, Royal Majlis and dining hall, and offices for the king and the governor of Riyadh. The external facade is of Riyadh limestone.
The Grand Mosque, of 37,000m2 floor area, is designed to accommodate 16,500 worshippers. It includes libraries, housing for the Imam and Muezzin, and offices for the religious authorities. The precast-concrete prayer hall reflects traditional Saudi Arabian construction forms. Again, the external facade is of Riyadh limestone.
Terry Ealey, Padraic Kelly
Architect, Grand Mosque and Kasr Al Hokm: Rasem Badran
Architect, the Cultural Centre: Scott Brownrigg and Turner with Al Shathry
Architect, city walls and gates: beeah
Landscape Architect: bbw
Infrastructure, landscape works and commercial buildings: Saudconsult with Zuhair Fayez and bbw
Structural, building services, cost engineering, project management: Buro Happold