Rempt van der Donk Architects BNA BV | Raqtan Group headquarters

The project concerns the design of a new headquarters and production facility for the Raqtan Company. Raqtan is a Saudi family company specializing in the planning, design and manufacture of commercial restaurant kitchens, providing comprehensive solutions to the foodservice industry. Their area of ​​work is Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait. Raqtan has branches in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dubai. In Riyadh, they have created the largest kitchen in the world, where 80,000 meals are served a day.

The building consists of a head office, a showroom, a production hall, a warehouse and a parking garage. The project is located in the 2nd industrial city of al Khobar near Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The 2nd industrial city al Khobar is managed by MODON.

The project is a private initiative. In order to prepare the MODON areas and prepare them for the Saudi Arabian Policy Memorandum 2030, this project has been declared a pilot project, with which the architect was allowed, as a test, to deviate partially from the conditions applicable to the MODON areas.

The general principle for the design of the project is “less is more”. The intention was to give the building a simple yet efficient yet attractive design with a hugely clear and functional workflow. In addition, the building had to become a ‘state of the art’ sustainable building and consume almost no energy. This has led to an A+++ building in an environment where it can reach 50-55 degrees Celsius in the summer.

The main structure for the office part, the showroom and the parking garage is a combination of prestressed concrete and a steel structure (around the terrace). The main structure of the production hall and warehouse is a steel structure, consisting of steel beehive carriers, girders and columns. At the location of the Chemical Warehouse, perforated steel has been used in the facade in the same shape and color as the facade panels of the production hall to create a coherent facade image of this hall.

The entire facade of the office, showroom and parking garage is equipped with a double facade of silver-colored expanded metal against an independent steel structure (Metadecor). Partly to reduce sun exposure, but also to give a skin to the appearance of the building. Due to its shape, the expanded metal is sun-repellent and keeps the outer facade free from direct sunlight. Together with the triple glazing, this provides enormous energy gains. In addition, the user can easily look outside, while the visitor on the street cannot look into the building. Externally, these elements form the building’s skin. The elements are designed with as few details as possible. For this purpose, the corners of the main building are round. The floor surfaces of the office and showroom are fully glazed between floor and ceiling. The corners of the building are rounded to enhance the feeling of a skin, among other things by avoiding the detail on the corner.

The terrace’s facade and roof are covered with coated aluminum Formatura from Metadecor. The shape of these Formatura panels is inspired by the shape of a date. The shadow effect of the alternately twisted dates in the facade elements gives the terrace’s facade and ceiling the shape of palm leaves. The roof of the terrace is held up by a giant steel tree produced in the Netherlands. The tree stands in a pond that provides cooling during the day and is tiled in the pattern of a Saudi headscarf worn by men. The terrace provides daylight in the offices and production hall and is also an outdoor area where employees can relax and cool off.

The facade at the main entrance and the entrance to the parking garage is made of brass and forms an accent. This brass, together with the glass on the ground floor of the showroom, is the only detail in the facade of the main building. For the rest, the offices, showroom and parking garage are not recognizable as a function of the facade.

Because many functions are gathered in one building mass, the project has an interesting cross-section with different floor heights. Parking garage 3 meters, offices 4 meters and a showroom 10 meters high. Due to the design of the facade, the various functions are not recognizable from outside the building. The functional design of the building, with different functions in one mass (offices, showroom, courtyard and parking, together with the dynamic open working floors of the offices, is unique in a MODON district in Saudi Arabia. The whole structure constitutes a pilot project to achieve adapted building regulations.

Sustainability: In terms of sustainability and energy consumption, this building is unique in a MODON district. It has an A+++ rating. Energy is generated by solar panels on the roof of the production hall and warehouse. At night (the temperature difference is the smallest), this energy is used to control heat pumps that bring the water in the sprinkler system’s water tank to a temperature of 19 degrees Celsius. During the day, the coolness of this water is used to cool the office and the production hall. The water in the sprinkler tank is normally never used. The sprinkler tank is located under the ramp to the parking garage in the basement. The heat pumps are controlled in anticipation from Japan.

All the glass is triple-glazed. On the one hand for lower energy consumption, but on the other hand to keep the glass clean. Double glazed windows condense on the outside. Due to the amount of dust and the wind, the glass is very intensively contaminated. Triple glass does not condense, which greatly reduces the cost of washing the glass. The glass and the expanded metal facade are kept clean with high air pressure. The facade insulation consists of 140mm PIR. The roof insulation consists of 240mm PIR. All “cold leaks” are avoided. All walls in the production hall and warehouse are made of the highly insulating Kingspan panels. All walls below ground and all undersides of floors are provided with 140 mm PIR. All lighting is LED lighting with presence detection throughout the project.

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