Well this is awesome: looks like Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia—completed as of earlier this year—can officially claim the title of the largest women-only school in world, clocking in at 32,000,000 square feet and accommodating 60,000 students. Though unsurprising for a country becoming known for progressive architecture, but surprising for one with not-so-progressive gender attitudes (lady-free Ikea catalogs being the among tamest examples of sex inequality) the university will more than double the city's college slots for women. One rather unique design challenge faced by global architecture firm Perkins+Will and the design consultants at Dar Al-Handasah, though, was coming up with a way to conceal the campus from male outsiders—allowing female students to remove their veils during class.
The team addressed this issue by elevating classrooms by 20 feet and constructing rather veil-like latticework screens, effectively concealing the campus without completely walling it off. As for non-classroom areas, the concrete and limestone campus includes plenty of outdoor areas—less concealed—that make way for fantastically modern courtyards and fountains. Do check out Architectural Record's full gallery, right this way.
· Perkins+Will Completes Women's University in Saudi Arabia [Architectural Record]