|1973||Atelier d’Architecture Joseph Philippe Karam|
|… m²||… m² (Site)|
During the reign of King Faisal (1964 – 1975) Saudi Arabia witnessed an unprecedented surge in to the 20th century. The city of Jeddah at that time was the de-facto capital of the country, housing a growing community of international residents along with its merchant families led society. A large drive to modernise the city led to a flurry of unique and daring commissions for international architectural firms to build in Jeddah. One of these firms was Beirut based Atelier d’Architecture Joseph Philippe Karam, who’s buildings in his home country were gaining a wide Arab audience who frequented Beirut often during the period prior to the Lebanese civil war. Towards the end of the 1960s he was commissioned by Princess Effat Al-Thinian, King Faisal’s wife, to design a large-scale residential and commercial project on the prestigious King AbdulAziz Street in downtown Jeddah. Completed in 1973, Al-Malika Commercial Complex (Queen’s Building) is considered the first high-rise building in Jeddah. This mixed-use complex was an instant landmark in the middle of the Old town, signifying the catapult of the city into the modern era.
The complex incorporates a slender 27-storey residential tower and a lower commercial building with an elegant convex glass façade- a distinct feature of the building, sitting atop a 3-storey shopping mall, unprecedented in Saudi Arabia, and an integrated parking garage. Influenced by early works designed by the American architect Edward Durrell Stone in the 1950s in Lebanon, Karam began to work away from modernism towards post -modernism, incorporating distinctly Arab or local details in these strictly modern projects. This can be seen in his treatment of the large arched bay windows of the shopping mall which occupies the main podium of the complex.