snohetta: king abdulaziz center for world culture
snohetta: king abdulaziz center for world culture snohetta: king abdulaziz center for world culture
sep 18, 2013

snohetta: king abdulaziz center for world culture

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

great 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
image via

image via







  • “…saudi arabia’s continuous efforts towards social and intellectual progress…” : for women also ?

    JM says:
  • Nice!!!

    Ryan says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
490,388 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample