Zaha Hadid Architects‘ proposal for a new intermodal transit station for the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, at first glance looks something like a cruise ship with a sharp prow cutting through the desert. This was part of the inspiration, in fact, as the sine waves that roll across the façade and organize the interior are derived from complex wind-generated waves of sand.
The waves also symbolize the bustling activity that will fill the station: Serving three new metro lines, as well as a monorail, the King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station will be handling thousands of people a day, especially since Riyadh has doubled in population to 5 million since 1990.
Perforated façade panels contextualize the station as well as provide much needed shading from solar gain, demonstrating that the screen trope for dealing with Middle Eastern situations is far from exhausted. Since the station is near a busy highway, it makes sense that its exterior expression would be a bit hard, but the interiors are fully equipped with the typical sumptuous oil state décor of white and gold.