Creation of "Sand Dunes in the Desert"

Riyadh Metro - Western Station

The Western Station is the most iconic structure in Riyadh metro stations. The design for this remarkable 110,000m2 project aimed to be a catalyst for urban development, a design reflective of local culture and heritage and is a signature multimodel hub for the new Riyadh transit system.

With references to the Kingdom’s dominant desert landscapes, oasis and palm groves, this building’s design is a modern interpretation of the desert sand drifts, where a cluster of dune shaped, earth-colored structures emerge from the sand creating possibilities for station entrances, natural light penetration, and pedestrian shading. Inside the dune-like pavilions, the station interiors are open and column-free which made the project even more complex for AIC Steel.


3B2 Western Station is one of the largest iconic stations of the Riyadh Metro Project. The project included: Above-ground Metro Station (with 34,155 m2 area), Bus Station (with 3,500 m2 area), Underground park & Ride Facility (with 39,295 m2 area) and a Mosque (with 2,330 m2 area).

AIC was responsible for the entire steel structures of this station including but not limited to all connections designs, detailing, fabrication as well as the erection of the structure. Due to having a very exquisite and modern architectural design, the nature of the project was quite complex and needed extra attention to detail by AIC team.

This specific station is a modern interpretation of the “Sand Dunes in the Desert,” where a cluster of sand dunes shaped structure emerges from the ground creating station entrances, space for natural light, and shading.

Mainly, these Sand Dunes comprise four massive “dunes-like” structures which, for illustration sake, we’ll name: Dune0, dune1, Dune 2 & Dune3.



To implement the unique architectural structure of the dunes, be it in the complex detailing, shop drawings, fabrication or the construction phase, was a challenge for all parties to achieve the best results. “Tekla Structures played an important role in the success of this project because of its powerful and intuitive 3D modeling, huge connection library, and no site fit-up issues," explained Mohamed Ezzat - PMP, who is the Head of Technical Support in AIC.


"Using our internally developed plug-ins in Tekla, helped AIC Steel immensely in facilitating and accelerating our modeling, drawings and fabrication workflow,” added Mohamed Ezzat - PMP. For the wide column-free area, Tekla software made it possible to execute a complex system of main and secondary trusses, infills and bracing had to be placed with a ‘knotted arrangement,’ in addition to including purlins and facade support systems.




The first Dune, or ‘DUNE 0,’ is a single curved cantilevered roof with 49m length X (7.6 to 11.4m) variable-width X 14m height. This roof consists of 4 main trusses with built-up extensions, as well as infill struts and bracings.


The DUNE 1 is a single curved roof with 176m length X (13 to 26m) variable-width X 26m height. This roof consists of 2 main trusses in addition to secondary trusses and bracing in between.

DUNE 2 & 3

DUNES 02 and 03 has a double-curved roof with (161 + 138) m length X (22 to 37m) variable-width X 25m height). Each single curved roofs consist of 2 main trusses in addition to secondary
trusses and bracing in between.

The connections between the dunes members were also challenged by the multi-member joints with different slopes and orientations. Avoiding the clashes in such cases would have not been done without an intelligent 3D BIM software like Tekla Structures with its parametric macros.



Arabian International Company (AIC), has fabricated over a million tons of steel since 1994 and has been using Tekla Software for over 14 years now. AIC also recently received a certificate and trophy for their involvement in the Trimble Tekla BIM Awards Middle East. “It is a pleasure to have one of the leading players in the industry like AIC Steel, as a customer for over a decade,” said Paul Wallett, who is the Regional Area Director of Trimble, Middle East & India. “We take pride in realizing the contributions of our software and services. We aspire to continue developing and upgrading our 3D BIM solution ‘Tekla Structures’ to support AIC and all our clients in their projects.”

The Riyadh Metro Project is just one example of the kind of structures AIC’s client’s trust they can manage. There are a number of mega-projects that AIC has worked on like the Abu Dhabi Financial Center, Saudi Arabia’s Al Faisaliah Tower, the KAPSARC Center in Saudi Arabia and many more.

AIC also worked on Madinah Airport and currently working on the Mall of Oman which are two massive projects of the Region.


Arabian International Co. for Steel Structures (AIC) is a leading designer, fabricator, and erector of structural steel and towers. Incorporated in 1994, AIC has been serving the needs of the Oil and Gas, Refineries, Petrochemical, Power, Plants, Smelters, Industrial, Desalination and Commercial and Retail projects.

They have offices and factories across Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt serving the needs of the MENA region. Traditionally, the Company has been structured into two divisions - Structural Steel and Transmission / Telecom Towers. However, now they have extended their expertise to encompass Construction and Heavy Equipment Leasing as well. AIC is known for the quality of its products and services and for its attention to safety. They are determined to maintain high standards through continuous improvement of processes and procedures.

AIC is a member of the Attieh Group of companies. The Attieh Steel Group is the largest steel stockiest in the Middle East.




Owner - Riyadh Metro Line 3 LLC
Consultant - Riyadh Metro Transit Consultants (RMTC)
Architect - Omrania
Steel Contractor - AIC Steel
Area - 110.000 m2
Steel Tonnage - 8100Ton.

AIC Quote

O Tekla Structures teve um grande papel no sucesso deste projeto devido à sua poderosa modelagem 3D, enorme biblioteca de conexões e nenhum problema de adaptação. O uso de plug-ins desenvolvidos internamente no Tekla ajudou a AIC Steel imensamente a facilitar e acelerar o fluxo de trabalho de modelagem, desenhos e fabricação.
Mohamed Ezzat - PMP
Technical Support Head
AIC Steel