Zaha Hadid Architects triumph in competition to design Saudi cultural centre

True authenticity resides in the balance between tradition and ever-evolving innovation. This has been integral throughout the project’s design process
– ZHA

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) are to build a cultural and research complex for a Unesco World Heritage site in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

The firm have won first prize in the competition to build the Urban Heritage Administration Centre, which will incorporate a permanent exhibition gallery, library, lecture hall, educational and meeting spaces and a scientific institution for conducting field research for ongoing digs in the Wadi Hanifah valley.

The 8,780sq m (94,500sq ft) site will be the head office of the region’s Heritage Museum.

The centre’s design engages with both interaction between man and nature and the geographical and cultural context of its location.

An oasis sits within the vast expanse of Saudi Arabia’s Najd central plateau, and this is reflected in ZHA’s design by having the centre’s facilities organised around an atrium with water features at its core. Four ‘scooped’ green oases are also located within its apparently solid double-facade, which will have a carefully perforated outer skin that protects the interior from solar gain while maintaining visual connections with the natural surroundings. This echoes local architectural traditions, in which rammed-earth construction is used to construct buildings with thick walls and small exterior openings that protects the inhabitants from the fierce heat and sun.

“The design relates to Diriyah’s local vernacular, not through mimicry or a limiting adherence to references of the past, but by developing a deeper understanding of its traditions and composition – expressed in a contemporary interpretation informed by the same natural forces that defined Diryah’s historical architecture,” said a ZHA statement.

“True authenticity resides in the balance between tradition and ever-evolving innovation. This has been integral throughout the project’s design process.”

Zaha Hadid Architects  architecture  design  Saudi Arabia  Wadi Hanifah valley  UNESCO  Urban Heritage Administration Centre 
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Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) are to build a cultural and research complex for a Unesco World Heritage site in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. The firm have won first prize in the competition to build the Urban Heritage Administration Centre, which will incorporate a permanent exhibition gallery, library, lecture hall, educational and meeting spaces and a scientific institution for conducting field research for ongoing digs in the Wadi Hanifah valley. The 8,780sq
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A carefully perforated outer skin that protects the interior from solar gain while maintaining visual connections with the natural surroundings / Methanoia
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