Arata Isozaki’s initial concept was based on the holy Islamic Sidra Tree, which symbolizes the end of the seventh heaven. Huge steel columns create a tree-like appearance and an illusion of two trees supporting the roof canopy. The columns of the building grow from two concrete bases along the façade and divide into four branches. These have octagonal cubes as structural cores.
The $720 million energy-efficient project was built according to US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) gold-certification standards and is the first of its kind in the region. It has 3,500 square meters of its roof area covered in solar panels that contribute about 12,5% of the building’s total electrical consumption. Other resources that contribute to the project’s sustainability include LED lighting, air-volume systems, carbon dioxide monitors, occupancy sensors and water-efficient fixtures.
Photos by Nelson Garrido