Bahrain-based Studio Cowi has won a contract to design a 52,000 square-metre hotel in Al-Khobar, which will be Saudi Arabia’s first Leadership Energy Efficient Design (Leed) Silver hospitality project.  

Known as Rukn Alqeeq and designed for Saudi Arabia’s Alqeeq Real Eastate Development Company, the five-star, 200-key hotel will include 13 storeys of office space, podium and boutique retail space. 

Studio Cowi’s Danish parent company Cowi has been appointed to provide infrastructure and engineering services for the building as well as project management onsite. Cowi will subcontract the building’s lighting, wind and facade engineering to specialist consultancies. Alqeeq expects construction to begin in December 2010, with completion set for the end of 2013.  

The Studio Cowi design incorporates elevated gardens, passive shading devices and photovoltaic panels placed to maximise exposure to the sun, while harnessing and storing energy.

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Kaust) in Thuwal became Saudi Arabia’s first completed building to achieve Leed certification in September 2009. It was just the second building in the Gulf to achieve the highest rating of Leed Platinum.  

The Kaust buildings have been oriented and constructed to maximise natural light and ventilation. The roof of the building is capable of supporting 12,000 sq m of solar thermal and photovoltaic arrays, which translates into approximately 3,300MW hours of energy per year.