New opera house in Ad-Dirijja, Saudi Arabia

The Opera House in Ad-Dirijja will be built according to a design prepared by the Snøhetta studio. The architects have proposed a form that draws on Najdi architecture – a style characteristic of Saudi Arabia.

The city of Ad-Diriyah is set to become the cultural capital of Saudi Arabia. The plan, which is already underway, envisages major investments, with construction to be completed by 2030. The state authorities are insisting that the style of the buildings to be constructed should be reminiscent of Najdi, a style typical of Saudi villages centuries ago. At the heart of Diriyah is the historic 1766 town of At-Turaif, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Diriyah is to be expanded in every aspect, i.e. the authorities plan to have an additional 100,000 people living here by the end of the decade, so new residential, hotel, office, commercial and educational buildings are being built.

One of the city’s landmarks will be the Royal Diriyah Opera House. To be built by 2028, the new opera house is a multi-purpose facility with green gardens that is expected to be an attractive leisure destination.

The design by the Snøhetta studio refers to the historical buildings of the region. The dominant feature is the desert landscape. The opera house building is intended to resemble a dried-up riverbed, which breaks under the influence of the sun and is moulded by wind and rain. The concept is to build the opera house as a conglomeration of several smaller forms. The mass seems to grow out of the ground.

In total, the building will have a surface area of 46,000 square metres and will accommodate a total of 3,500 people. Inside, there will be four halls for performances of different nature. The largest will accommodate 2,000 people at a time. An important part of the building will be a shaded amphitheatre on the roof, which will accommodate 450 people. In addition, cafés and retail spaces will be created in the new opera house.

The edifice is to be environmentally friendly, will save water and will be powered by renewable energy sources.

source: Binyan, Snøhetta

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