Famous for designing the Hoberman Sphere, Chuck Hoberman has since turned his talents to Saudi Arabia, where two luxury spas will feature his latest invention – a moving mesh facade that dapples harsh sunlight.
Like giant greenhouses, each three story polygonal spa boasts a vast atrium and all manner of plants. A custom perforated skin comprised of no fewer than four layers of titanium, two of which are kinetic, provides natural light and ventilation.
Powered by small motors, the middle layers of the KAFD Portal Spa’s envelope moves back and forth, creating both shade, a welcome addition to any building in the kingdom that regularly experiences summer temperatures of 50 degrees celsius, and light play.
Called Tessellate, this groundbreaking (and costly) technology mitigates excess solar gain and creates lighting conditions akin to a dense forest floor, where light is channeled through the treetops in soft, gentle beams.
This is reinforced by interior gardens, and the outer layers also promote natural ventilation, reinforcing the feeling of traversing a constructed paradise in the heart of a thumping metropolis.
Designed for the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, the spas are segregated affairs – as would be expected. One is for women and one is for men, and construction on both is expected to break ground in 2014.
WORKSBUREAU is currently finalizing the design for the twin luxury spas, which will become the new gateway for the Riyadh’s financial district. For those who can afford it, of course.