King Abdullah Financial District Conference Center | Riyadh Saudi Arabia | HM White


One of the five programmed “Attractor Parcels” of Henning Larsen Architect’s urban master plan, the KAFD Conference Center emerges as an iconic structure within the District’s southern terminus to its central public “Wadi” landscape. In collaboration with the Center’s architect – SOM, HM White has led its scientific team to design and implement this fusion of landscape and structure. The landscape design re-introduces native arid grasses and flora into a large scale public space setting. These indigenous plant communities spatially organize and blur the boundaries between the building’s undulating “exoskeleton” skin and its surrounding structural desert landscape. Arabian Peninsula meadow desert grasses and trees emerge as the connective tissue and establish an appropriately scaled expansive campus landscape.
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Seeing the tree from the forest

SERA Simulation of Tree Canopies - Credit: Sean T. Hammond

Sean Hammond and Karl Niklas have published a paper in the August 2009 edition of  American Journal of Botany presenting an algorithm that could be used to predict plant communities. The algorithm known as spatially explicit, reiterative algorithm, or SERA explores whether changes occurring in plant communities, such as self-thinning and the competitive displacement of one species by another, can be attributed to the characteristics of the individual plants that comprise the community.

“Remarkably, our model predicts the behavior of real plant populations, and thus suggests to us that many ‘complex’ ecological interactions emerge as a result of a few very ‘simple’ processes,” commented Dr. Niklas. SERA may be very useful in predicting changes in community development and composition as environmental and climatic variability increases.

The full article is available for until the 20 September 2009 at www.amjbot.org/cgi/content/full/96/8/1430. The SERA program can be accessed at www.botany.org/downloads/HammondandNiklas.zip.

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