The Butterfly




The recessed position of the buidling creates a leisure park and oasis amidst the bustling commercial activity and a convenient pick-up/drop-off area for local commuters. The two levels at the base are dedicated to retail and connect to the sequence of footbridges in the district, Skywalks. The next five levels are reserved for offices, while the top six floors comprise luxury residences.

Open cuts through the base create lush green courtyards and protection from the sun, encouraging visitors, employees and residents to congregate in comfort without being exposed to harmful radiation. The cuts also allow light to penetrate deeply into the building and provide the retail areas with spectacular views of the financial district.

The building is sheathed in louvers that prevent overheating and create a distinctive moiré effect along the facade. This effect mirrors the appearance of shimmering butterfly wings, animating the building for inhabitants and passers-by.

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Project facts

Project facts

Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Client: Saudi BinLadin Group
Gross floor area: 40,000 m2
Year of construction: 2010 - 2011
Type of assignment: Commission
Collaborators: Buro Happold and Geoffrey Barnett Associates
Certifications: Pursuing LEED Certified


  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia