the king abdulaziz center for world culture is located in dhahran, saudi arabia, within close proximity to the ‘prosperity well’, a national landmark commemorating the place where oil was first discovered in the arab state. designed by snøhetta, the 80,000 square meter fully integrated institution will house world class archives, library, learning center, a four-gallery museum and children’s museum (presenting rotating and permanent exhibitions), cafes and gift shops, and will play host to youth enrichment and innovation programs, as well as act as a major venue for live and multimedia events.
images © MIR / courtesy of snøhetta and king abdulaziz center for world culture
the formal aspects of the architecture are influenced by saudi arabia’s geology and rock formations that preserve petroleum energy. at the center of the structure is the ‘knowledge tower’, which soars above the rest of the cultural complex, with smaller mountainous forms flanking it on either side. the institution will be clad in an arrangement stainless steel tubes (measuring a total of 350 kilometers-long), all individually shaped in order to snuggly wrap around the subtle curves of the exterior. in contrast to this industrial façade, construction will integrate traditional building techniques, including the rammed earth method, incorporating sand, gravel and clay to erect the walls of the center.
currently under construction, with 47% of the structure having been realized to date, the ‘king abdulaziz center for world culture’ will stand to support saudi arabia’s continuous efforts towards social and intellectual progress, with a focus on creative cultural development.
multimedia and lecture hall
smaller lecture hall
banquet and restaurant space
steam water feature
the cultural center’s backdrop
the building is 47% complete
the construction of the center will include a combination of traditional and groundbreaking building techniques