KAFD World Trade Centre, Saudi Arabia

Project: External cladding
Location: World Trade Centre, King Abdullah Financial District, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  
Client: Al Ra’idah Investment Company
Architect: Gensler
Engineering Consultants: BuroHappold Engineering
Facade Design: Permasteelisa Gartner Middle East (PGME)
Main Contractor: Saudi Binladin Group
Handover: 2015

King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is Riyadh’s state-of-the-art CBD. Future-focused, outward looking and bristling with high technology, the district will become home to the country’s key financial institutions. Located on a prominent corner site, the new 303 metre World Trade Centre takes the form of a ‘vertical wadi’. Visible from miles away, it is clad in a sequence of linear composite panels, to stunning effect. BFG’s all-composite solution brought to life Gensler’s vision of an intricate panel design, with all the benefits of robust, lightweight construction and faster installation.

Following comprehensive engineering analysis, structural design and performance testing based on the ASTM E330 standard – which measures wind load on exterior surface elements – BFG fabricated 3180 lightweight composite cladding panels capable of resisting sand-laden loads carried in high winds some 300 metres above ground level.​

​In all, BFG oversaw complete engineering, fabrication and delivery of 47,000m2 of decorative composite panelling for the exterior of the 63 floor tower. The panels were constructed from an FRP outer surface with a foam core, including aluminium structural struts, rockwool insulation and all the necessary components for an aluminium attachment system. The cladding met stringent fire and smoke criteria and is compliant with the International Building Code (IBC) to meet ASTM E 84 Class A and NFPA 285.

Producing the uniquely complex design – in which each panel was a different size and shape – required advanced tooling and manufacturing with the use of laser projection to construct the moulds, to help meet the client’s stringent fabrication tolerances. These precise dimensional controls enabled perfect assembly when the panels were mounted at site.