The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Environs Study is a master plan and series of urban design concepts.  This design approach leverages Riyadh’s investment in KAFD to establish a vibrant and connected urban public realm paired with a dynamic and sustainable mixed-use residential pattern. It offers an iconic, world-class urban model that celebrates the local context, environment, and culture and as a natural extension of the King Abdullah Financial District.


The plan’s central spine is a robust and interconnected pedestrian and urban transit network that creates access to and from KAFD and to the rest of Riyadh. The street network is entirely retrofitted to establish key boulevards and a pedestrian and bike friendly district. Building upon this, a mixed-use neighborhood is developed around a newly daylit urban wadi which collects the grey water and runoff from the site and development, cleaning and offering it once more as a public amenity.


Along this spine sit the Stardune Plaza and Wadi Parkway, a flagship park and open space system designed to bring a piece of the desert into the city and offer an opportunity to experience nature as an urban spectacle.  Inspired by the form of sand dunes found in the Arabian Peninsula, and paired with patterns of Islamic culture, a series of Stardune canopies shade visitors from the intense sun. They offer a place to celebrate and to pray, and to be fully present in the best of both the urban and natural environments that Riyadh has to offer. This iconic design in its extraordinary landscape offer visitors an experience that is truly and uniquely Saudi.


CLIENT: Arriyadh Development Authority

LOCATION: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

COLLABORATORS: Shubin+Donaldson Architects, ARUP, Guy Nordenson Engineers, RLB Saudi Arabia

SIZE (AREA): 1,200 Acres

RECOGNITION: 2017 ASLA Merit Award, Minnesota Chapter