Marissa Duplex Apartments - First Prize Winner 

Marc Biedenkapp

Luis Ricardo


In our opinion, good modern architecture needs to be linked to history. It needs to respond to given circumstances rather than impose oneself upon them. It needs to look at the past and the tradition of building in a certain part of the world. And it needs to understand WHY things were designed a certain way in order to function. In this particular case, in the harsh climate of Saudi Arabia, we drew inspiration from traditional Arabian settlements.


Buildings were made from local materials like mud and clay, they were made solid to withstand the scorching heat, while keeping the interior cool. Openings were as big as they needed to be. These buildings seemed to have grown straight out of the underlying soil. Using rammed earth gives us the opportunity to improve upon this traditional building technique. It uses the local sand as aggregate and therefore not only matches the landscape in colour, it also allows for fairly inexpensive construction as well. These buildings provide a solid plinth, that incorporate Arabian tradition in materiality and response to the environment. Atop this plinth, modern buildings are situated like jewels, encapsulating stunning views while being viewed from afar at the same time.



In order to create a luxurious feel in a dense urban environment, we believe the space between the buildings is as important as the buildings themselves. This would achieve the sensation of being in a luxury retreat, sat in an ocean of green. Framing views of the gardens and water features, as well as having the residents take a journey through interior and exterior spaces only enhances that.