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Criminal Court Complex, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2005

Standing alone in the dense fabric of the city, the Criminal Court completes a set of important public institutions located in the very heart of Riyadh's old town - the intention being to restructure the old town and thus breathe new life into it. The 48.8 meter-high cube of the Criminal Court arises from a wraparound strip of light at the base. This illuminated demarcation forms a kind of natural barrier, creates a feeling of security, and emphasizes the raised status of the building. Footbridges bring the visitor to the main entrances that are cut conically out of the cube along the main axes. The facade features the region's typical coarse chalky sandstone panels. Narrow slits with window elements that are strongly recessed, minimize the exposure of the rooms to the heat outside. They underscore the facade's sculptural appearance, intensified by the vertical structuring throughout. Moreover, the edifice's symmetry and cube shape reflect the organizational principles structuring the internal divisions and modules. All the rooms are grouped around a spacious atrium that rises the full height of the building. Strips of windows in the ceiling ensure a pleasant ambient temperature, source indirect daylight and allow the light to play along the walls inside.

view at the Criminal Court Complex in Riyadh


ADA Arriyadh Development Authority


57,000 m²


Office / Administration | Public Buildings


1st prize international