zaha hadid wins competition to design riyadh metro station, saudi arabia
zaha hadid wins competition to design riyadh metro station, saudi arabia
may 16, 2013

zaha hadid wins competition to design riyadh metro station, saudi arabia

zaha hadid’s winning entry for one of the riyadh metro stations sports a lattice-like undulating skin — a sequence of opposing sine-waves — and will purportedly enclose a stop at the intersection of the high street/ batha line and the abdul rahman bin auf/ sheik hassan bin hussein line. the in-progress rapid transit system is part of major redevelopment bordering the king abdullah financial district, itself a burgeoning area in riyadh, the capital of saudi arabia. serving as key interchange for the new riyadh metro network for line 1, as well as the terminus of line 4 (for those traveling to the airport) and line 6, the king abdullah financial district (KAFD) metro line will have six platforms, over four public floors, and house two levels of underground parking.

zaha hadid riyadh metro station
all images courtesy of zaha hadid architects



connectivity diagrams and traffic maps have been analyzed and circulation paths have been optimized for optimal pedestrian flow. these paths of movement helped dictate the configuration of the three-dimensional lattice with rhythmic sculpted curves. themselves generated from the frequency variation of daily traffic flows. the architecture makes manifest the very forces it is set to mediate. the urban fabric is set to become a prime area for distinct architectural projects with norwegian firm snohetta and german firm gerber architekten slated to complete two other metro stations along the same six-line, 174 km long public transport spine. construction will reportedly begin this summer and complete by 2017. 

zaha hadid riyadh metro station
exterior view of the station in context as it borders the developing king abdullah financial district

zaha hadid riyadh metro stationinteriors show characteristic curves and sumptuous volumes that double as circulation

zaha hadid riyadh metro station
a network of pathways and skybridges reinforce the building as a dynamic public space for the building

zaha hadid riyadh metro station
the formal language of opposing sine waves continues well into the inner spatial condition



project info:


design: zaha hadid architects
project director:gianluca racana, filippo innocenti
project architect: fulvio wirz, gian luca barone
design team: alexandre kuroda, fei wang, lisa kinnerud, jorge mendez-caceres
structural engineer: buro happold
services: buro happold
transport and civil engineering: buro happold
fire engineering: buro happold
façade consultant:newtecnic
cost consultant: davis langdon
size: 20,434 sqm
levels: 4 above ground 2 below ground (car parking)
metro lines served: line 1, line 4, line 6, skybridge access to monorail (6 train platforms)



  • ZH buildings never cease to wow people from far but up close, is a bit sad. While the construction industry is catching up slowly on the new geometry, there are laws of physics and manufacturing limitations that has to be taken into account when a building is put together. Yes, you are talking to a person who is “old school”. I hope one day, she will get there by taking these into account in the design process and achieve truly great architecture.

  • Wow, high-tech makramé!

  • Very Sensuous. Almost has a Neri Oxman quality to the Mosharabi panels.
    How the train beds enter the building gives it a slightly orthogonal rigidity that it doesn’t feel comfortable with.
    More importantly, how will it be fabricated? Large digitally defined composite sections with structural performance, or old school pieces/parts skinning an old fashioned steel frame? It is time, that HOW Zaha produces her wonderful work is as advanced as the geometry itself. It would finally represent a new level of authenticity to the work and a true paradigm shift in how buildings are made. It is coming. Who will be first for a building of this scope?

    Mike Jackson

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