children festival marketplace

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Attractor A.09 Children Festival Marketplace & Attractor A.10 Interactive Children Museum in the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) are designed as an entertainment and an educational places for the young people, ages 10-16, in Saudi Arabia. There are numerous activities that make up the lifestyle of the Saudi teenager which generally fall in amongst three main categories of Activity, Knowledge and Community. Today’s pre-teens and teenagers are faced with a lack of safe and encouraging environments in which to be active, socialise and have fun. All of which, the new Attractor project will provide.

The proposed concept creates a balance by designing a focus around the active, energetic and entertaining. The project has been challenged to create a new building typology which fully accommodates physical activities and up-to-date IT interactivity, as well as a virtual experience through digital media and social networks. A string of plazas at different levels is connected by a circulation system providing an architectural experience like the video games that users explore from cleared stage to the next stage. The journey wraps around the perimeter of the building with the interstitial spaces resulting between the plazas.

Curiously, the original brief was so undefined that the client requested Gensler to come up with a new and more precise brief to meet the expectations of the development. To create it, the team explored a large number of entertainment venues around the world and extracted the components that best suited the image in our client’s mind to create a landmark project, educational- oriented and entertainment-oriented, active and engaging places for pre-teens and young visitors.

Children Festival Marketplace & Children’s Interactive Museum are buildings fall within the aspirations for KAFD to become a world class development. They are two (of ten) buildings that will house more “civic” functions within the confines of a Financial District. They are situated on a landscape plaza that marks the beginning of the “Wadi”, a central landscaped park that connects the different areas of the master plan.

For Children Festival Marketplace, building’s massing is a great example of a concept that works from the inside out despite its apparent random nature. The functions are planned around a guest experience distributed over several plazas or “clouds” and a series of “hyperlinks” that engage the user in a videogame-like fashion. Each user has a controller in the form of a band wrist (fashion accessory) that can be used to navigate the spaces, interact with the hyperlinks and effectively “play” the building. The external envelope has been fashioned around the idea of a bouncing cube and stop-motion to create an animated shell that represents the activities occurring inside. The striking resulting geometry of the building makes it as playful as its contents.


1.1 Site Location

The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) is located in the growing North King Fahad Road corridor. It is designated to become the largest financial centre in the Middle East, to consolidate Saudi Arabia’s position as the Middle East financial capital. The project site of 160 hectares lies at the northern edge of the Central Area, and is adjacent to the King Fahad Road.

A concept Master Plan was prepared in 2006-7 by Henning Larson Architects. A review and validation of the Concept plan was undertaken by Shankland Cox and final Concept Masterplan report was issued in March 2010. An updated Final Concept report was produced in February 2011 by Shankland Cox.


Fig: The location of the King Abdullah Financial District and the location of the Festival Market Place & Interactive Children Museum

As the Figure shown above, the Festival Market Place Attractor is located to the West of Thumamah Road and Area 6. The master plan denomination for this plot is A.09 and it sits on the land bridge directly on top of the Central Car Park. The space in between is part of a processional route that connects all the way to the wadi-linking other attractors and landmarks all the way through to the Financial Centre.

1.2 Climate Conditions

From Climatic Response

The building design will concentrate on the following areas to respond to the environmental conditions. The building will be oriented and shaped to respond to the site conditions.
There will be a high performance facade which will provide sun shading and control solar gain.
Efforts will be taking to limit the internal heat gain from people, lighting and equipment. An efficient cooling system will be utilized to limit energy consumption while bringing internal conditions into a comfortable range by using humidification and direct evaporative cooling.

From Sun Path Analyses
Summer temperatures in Riyadh are very hot, approaching 50 degrees Celsius. The average high temperature in July is 43.5°C. Winters are mild with cold, windy nights. The overall climate is arid, receiving very little rainfall. It is also known to have many dust storms. The dust is often so thick that visibility is less than 10 meters

The following bar chart for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia shows the years average weather condition reading covering rain, average maximum daily temperature and average minimum temperature.


Fig: The average weather condition in Riyadh.


Fig: The overall climate in Riyadh.

1.3 Local Interfaces

The Festival Marketplace and Children Interactive Museum sit atop of the Central Car Park. A portion of the building is expected to connect at the first level of basement with the CCP retail. Further investigation is required to assess vertical connectivity through atriums to bring natural light to the lower levels of the car park.

The connection with the monorail station has been confirmed since it is a Phase 2 building and will be crucial to enable the CCP users to access Station No.1. The relationship between interior-exterior spaces will be explored to reinforce the links to the landscape, land bridge and its amenities all the way to the Wadi.

Wadi is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry (ephemeral) riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream. Wadi in KAPD is a central landscaped park that connects the different areas of the master plan.


Fig: Local interface in Riyadh.

1.4 Transportation Nodes

The principles of access by motorists to the Festival Market Place are intrinsically related to the centralised parking facility as set out in the Final Concept Master Plan Report by Shankland Cox Asia Ltd. The Centralised Parking facility is actually two facilities physically separated by the Thumamah Road Underpass. The main car park is to the west with a much smaller component to the east close to the retail /leisure area. Each facility is provided with two entry and exit points as shown in the Shankland Cox report.

The Thumamah Road Underpass permits only right in/right out movements to Area 6 where most of the parking spaces are located and this could lead to localised traffic difficulties. There are u-turning underpasses that will allow cars to reverse their direction.

These underpasses will allow motorists arriving from the south to turn left to access the southern entry to the car park and after leaving by this southern exit to use the underpass to travel to the north. Accordingly this southern entry/exit point will have to cater for probably 75% of the total parking movements instead of a balanced 50% split with the northern access point.

The smaller car park within the Leaf will contain circa 25% of the total being provided in the centralised parking and to avoid localised congestion it will be necessary to control the number of motorists seeking to park here.

The Shankland Cox report identified an arrival flow of 1,273 cars in the AM peak. We can consider that the design of the accesses and internal layouts need to be designed to cater for a significantly higher flow rate in view of the car park containing over 9,000 cars when full. It is possible that the maximum arrival or departure traffic flow could be in the order of 3,000 cars per hour spread unevenly between the 4 access locations.


Fig: Left: Access and Transportation for Attractor A.09 Children Festival Marketplace & Attractor A.10 Interactive Children Museum.

1.5 Pedestrian Access

The main pedestrian movements will occur during the AM peak if a majority of workers and visitors are coming to the development. There will be movements between additional car parks for Area 1 and the financial core. The worst case assumption include 45% of all car parks being approached in the AM peak hour with an occupancy of 1.3 passengers per vehicle of which all would walk to the financial core (no use of the monorail). The number of movements is shown in the Table and Figure behind shows the directions of movement.



Fig:  Pedestrian Access and Movement for Attractor A.09 Children Festival Marketplace & Attractor A.10 Interactive Children Museum.

Pedestrian Movement Timeline

During the day

The most crucial location is the western entry to Area 1 with 5,265 less monorail use pedestrians per hour. A width of 10ft for the pedestrian walkways results in about 7.8 Pedestrians/min./ft which is within the range of an LOS of C as depicted in the HCM.
Considering that these movements are rather unidirectional, the suggested concept provides sufficient capacity. A smaller part of this traffic will certainly use the monorail. Most critical Stations 3 and 4 (at Attractor A.04 and A.01 respectively) are located closed to the Financial Plaza. However, as the surface level of Area 1 is strictly pedestrianized such shift of movements can be accommodated easily.

During the night

During the night the main movements will be along the Wadi. However, these are comparable to visitor movements within a large shopping centre and are less crucial in terms of volumes. Movements can be accommodated.



Fig: Public realm design for the King Abdullah Financial District

2.1 Festival Marketplace and Children’s Interactive Museum (Parcel A.09 And A.10)

2.1.1 Introduction

The vision of the Festival Marketplace and Children’s Interactive Museum is to provide a venue for family with children of all ages a place for the pursuits of entertainment and educational activities that complements the Financial Plaza and serves as a gateway entrance to the development and a community node for the residential development in the vicinity. The integrated facilities will encourage a greater degree of visitors. The establishment will be a landmark in the area, as it will have major attractions and offers participatory and interactive experiences. The Children’s Interactive Museum will offer interactive experiences to develop a sense of wonder in children and on attitude of enquiry of the world around them.
The Festival Marketplace will be accessible through the use of small electrical vehicles to provide circulation from the Festival Marketplace to the portal linking activities/venues along the path i.e. Aviary, Butterfly Garden, Adventure Garden and Festival Boardwalk.
The Attractor and the attractor’s plaza aim to:
• Provide a hub for recreation, entertainment and education for children and families;
• Maximize integration of indoor and outdoor spaces for public enjoyment;
• Integrate the attractor with its surrounding;
• Showcase for good landscaping and urban design; and
• Plan the attractor for sustainable and environmentally friendly development.

2.1.2 Functions

The design allows for a wide variety of traditional and interactive exhibits. A children’s interactive forum and children sculpture garden complement the dynamic mix of activities on offer. In addition a Festival Marketplace is developed in the second attractor’s building providing a continuity of leisure activities for families.
The functions of the museum will be programmed in accordance to the following:
• Exhibits and in-depth hand on activities in studies led by talented staff.
• Day camps for children over 6 years of age and teachers for in depth exploration and first hand experiences of themed activities.
• Special galleries for temporary, thematic exhibitions from around the world
• Creativity fairs to encourage children, to investigate, explore and share their experiences with friends, families and with each other.
Facilities to be located within the building include the following:
• Reception centre and information desk;
• Children’s interactive rooms;
• Display areas and exhibition areas;
• Ice rink;
• Ice games;
• Mechanical amusements;
• Bowling alley;
• Outdoor cafes
• Restaurants and cafeterias;
• Outdoor recreation including such things as family reunion centre, picnic grounds and picnic terraces;
• Events area;
• Open air staged platform;
• Children sculpture garden; and
• Balloon interactive Theatre.

2.1.3 Building Character

The design should integrate the site parameters with the functioning of the establishment. Use of indoor landscape will add a different design element. A cheerful and inviting atmosphere should be achieved in these facilities conducive to learning and enjoyment. Some design consideration should include among others: lounging spaces that encourage interactions; Sitting areas with views of activities of children; Areas for actual close interaction with young people; Areas where older persons can feel productive (crafts rooms, workshops) ;Walls with bright cheerful colours, texture contrasts, bold graphics and Signage (for the visually impaired).

2.1.4 Site Parameters

The following parameters are applicable to the site

Festival Marketplace
Site number: A.09
Land use Attractor
Building Use: Festival Marketplace
Area: 7,679m2
Total Floor space: 15,358m2
Building Height: 22m
No of Floors: 4 max (including ground Floor and 3 levels above)
Pedestrian Access: Car Park Access at -5.5m
Access at PGL at +/-0.0m
Skywalk connections at +12.6m
Parking: Part of Centralised Parking

Children’s Interactive Museum
Site number: A.10
Land use Attractor
Building Use: Children’s interactive Museum
Area: 7,091m2
Total Floor space: 14,182m2
Building Height: 22m
No of Floors: 4 max (including ground floor
and 3 levels above)
Pedestrian Access: Car Park Access at -5.5m
Access at PGL at +/-0.0m
Skywalk connections at +12.6m
Parking: Part of Centralised Parking



3.1 Chapter Overview

Children’s museums are cultural institutions that provide hand-on exhibits and programs to stimulate informal learning experiences for children. The children’s interactive museum will be rich in offering experience in culture, connections, cooperation, critical thinking and creativity.

The Children Festival Marketplace, on the other hand, is more entrainment-oriented, it will provide a range of activities for Saudi teens and pre-teens, who faced a lack of options for safely socializing, being active and having fun. Designers created a new building typology that would accommodate both physical activities and IT interactivity. Organized into three categories — activity, knowledge and community, this building comprises a series of plazas at varying levels, connected by a circulation system that resembles the video-game-playing experience. Wrapping around the building’s perimeter, the journey includes interstitial spaces between the plazas, unexpected visual connections and a sense of discovery.

This chapter described the target market, proposed zoning approach and the massing design studies during the design process.

3.2 Target Audience – Pre-teen / Teen

There are numerous activities which make up the lifestyle of the Saudi Teenager. These generally fall in amongst three main categories of Activity, Knowledge and Community.

Today’s pre-teens and teenagers are faced with a lack of safe and encouraging environments in which to be active, socialise and have fun. The festival Marketplace is an opportunity to provide the Pre- teen / Teen with active thrills and fun together with a sense of community, optimism independence and safety.

Today’s youth are also extremely computer and technology savvy. Combining the active and energetic with instant media connectivity such as online clubs with photo galleries, competitions, instant messaging as well as a virtual link into the physical activities within the Festival Marketplace allow us to combine the active, physical and social with a virtual and digital sense of community and belonging.

3.3 Proposed Zoning Approach


3.3.4 Massing study

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