A cultural hub of architectural scenography

A cultural hub of architectural scenography

Part of the Diplomatic Quarter’s pristine multicultural oasis of tree-lined streets, multiple parks and green plazas, this upgrade of the pre-existing multi-level Cultural Palace is one of permanence. An upgrade of its structure originally built in 1985, this proposed concept from our team is a distillation of the area’s many attractions, embassies, offices and recreations, transforming it into a place capable of hosting a grander multitude of memorable theatre experiences.

Redesigned around equal parts climate and culture, this proposal for the site invites users to make it their own as they converge there, sharing in its entertainments and architectural scenography while it adapts to its hot desert conditions. Organized around a linear foyer, a genuine interior street is created which acts as the antechamber to various activities, exchanges and circulations based on emotion, memory, and discovery from the moment visitors set foot inside.

Canopied by a malqaf windcatcher and adaptive sunlight-filtering screen that creates dancing shadows, the foyer unfolds onto a square consisting of a co-working café, plant wall garden surrounding a mirror of water, verdant terrace, and virtual immersion room. At its core, a lobby-turned-multipurpose hall leads into an expanded centerpiece dining theatre. Bringing together the performing arts with fine-dining experiences from high-class chefs and restaurateurs, it sets the stage for events, celebrations, and performances.

Thermal, acoustic and visual qualities are optimized throughout for reduced environmental impacts while positively impacting the health and well-being. Taking artistic inspirations from contemporary interpretations of the traditional triangular Najdi geometry and the curvilinear form of the wadi (wet valley) to create undulating and fluid patterns, the site uses a combination of passive strategies, energy and water efficiency, rich biophilia with evaporative cooling from curated water features, and strategies from NET POSITIVE™.    

With this redesign sensitively informed by its myriad contexts, the Riyadh Cultural Palace could establish a new, multifaceted wellspring in the an-Nafud desert. Increasing its accessibility and permeability, the concept nourishes the mind, heart, and body with space animated by greater circulation and interactivity, intuitive user experiences, sustainability, and wellness.