King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) station is one of the four main stations of Riyadh Metro, an infrastructure megaproject set to transform the way people travel in Saudi Arabia’s capital city. Thought to be the biggest elevated metro transfer station in the world at 32m high, 42m wide, and 232m long, it is raising the bar for architectural design and engineering.
Located west of King Fahd Road adjacent to the under-construction KAFD, the station will serve as the main interchange for Riyadh Metro, connecting Lines 1, 4, and 6, with skybridge access to a separate monorail system.
Parsons is part of the Riyadh Metro Transit Consultants consortium in charge of Lines 1, 2, and 3.
Parsons is overseeing construction of these lines as part of a three-way venture. Its scope includes project management oversight, construction supervision, and safety.
There are so many impressive facts and figures for the station that it is difficult to know where to start. Do you start with the fact that 147,800㎡ has already been excavated? That more than 10,000 tonnes (t) of rebar has been used? What about the 132km of wiring, 15.7km of piping, or 30.3km of cabling that the team has already set up?
Perhaps it’s best to start with what Ken Murray, senior vice president of US consultancy Parsons says. He believes the KAFD station will become a “fantastic backdrop” to one of the Gulf’s most important cities.
The station will also have a number of shops, two levels of parking, potential future baggage handling systems, and two prayer rooms to provide passengers with a range of services at the Riyadh Metro’s main station.
Details are a big deal for the station too. Affixed to the ceiling above the ground floor are white and gold decorative moulds, each weighing up to 500kg on average.
These teardrop-shaped moulds are designed to resemble the pattern made in the sand dunes when wind blows over them. Each prefabricated mould is roughly five by two metres in size, and the team on site had to use special lifting equipment to fix them to the ceiling.
As part of the country’s commitment to Saudisation and the upskilling of locals, a large Saudi contingency makes up the project’s overall construction team. Parsons, says this varies through the different stages of project sequencing.
There is much to look forward to regarding KAFD station, as Riyadh will soon have a new architectural landmark that is thought to be the biggest elevated metro transfer station in the world.