JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Benoy, a global design firm with offices as far-flung as Los Angeles, Mumbai and Hong Kong, have embarked on designing Global Business School (GBS) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The design dovetails with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a massive nationwide program to assert the country as an economic and cultural hub in its region under the leadership of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, vice president of the Council of Ministers Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs.
Spread over an area of 337,298 total square feet, GBS will feature two distinct wings. The larger south wing will accommodate a gymnasium, auditorium, sports area and student dining halls, and the smaller north wing will house an innovation center and offices for faculty. Of note is that GBS will educate both men and women, the latter of whom have not customarily received the same educational opportunities in the nation.
“The design by Benoy evokes the open character of the faculty and supports gender and culture equality with no hierarchy or physical boundaries,” said Sobhi Batterjee, chairman of GBS, in a statement. “The Global Business School has brought the world’s top universities to the doorsteps of the Kingdom and is making a contribution towards Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia.”
Batterjee’s sentiments are echoed by Monika Laudencka-Sobik, director at Benoy, who affirms that GBS represents an evolution in Saudi Arabian education and its ability to empower a new generation.
“Our client is committed to furthering the aspirations of the new generation, and we are honored to be part of this transformation — to create a business school where the art of finances, technology and creative industries interact to inspire the future leaders of our time,” said Laudencka-Sobik in a statement.
Currently, GBS offers executive education programs via partners such as Harvard Law School of Harvard University, the Johnson College of Business of Cornell University and the United Kingdon’s Imperial College Business School. The new international business school is expected to open in 2020.
“The Global Business School seeks to create a vibrant and dynamic environment, which encourages learning in the digital age,” said Barry Hughes, global design director at Benoy, in a statement. “As the first phase of a new Center for Excellence, the building reflects the institutions’ goal of creating an iconic building — one that reflects its values and aspirations as a center for advanced and innovative education.”
Benoy has designed other projects in Saudi Arabia, including a retail area dubbed the Tahlia Street project in the city of Riyadh, which is currently under construction. Additional projects, supported by the firm’s regional design studios in Dubai and Bahrain, include Yas Island and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi as well as Dubai’s City Walk and The Beach. The firm is designing a new terminal for Bahrain Airport, an expansion that will update the airport into a state-of-the-art facility able to serve an estimated 14 million passengers per year.