Keith Williams Architects was invited by the Addiriyah Development Authority to take part in the limited international architectural competition for the new Addiriyah Arts Centre and Teaching Academy. The prize winning project is sited in the northwestern outskirts of Riyadh, on the eastern edge of Wadi Hanifa immediately outside the buffer zone of the designated At-Turaif District in Ad-Dir’iyah World Heritage Site.
The site and its surrounding landscape is rich in history and illustrates a significant phase in the early human settlement of the Arabian penninsula and later was the original home of the Saudi royal family, serving as the first dynasty’s capital.
The project was conceived holistically, fusing the spirit and history of the region with new architecture and landscape, to create a building that will form a new cultural destination and a centre for excellence with exemplary facilities for the display, making and teaching of art.
The contemporary art galleries are raised to the first floor in a separate block, to provide a series of enfilade spaces that enable maximum flexibility and offer the potential for filtered toplight to enter the rooms. Public facilities occupy the ground floor.
The teaching blocks and student accommodation form a “U” shaped building which enwraps a courtyard and is closed on the fourth side by the library. Borrowing heavily from the architecture of Islam, the library with its rotated cubic oculus dominates a courtyard and shallow pool which brings light and cool calmness to the courtyard spaces. Fitted and perforated screens both order the architecture of colonnaded courtyard interior and provide shading to the spaces behind. It is a building for the promotion of creation and enjoyment of arts in the broadest sense.
Client : Addiriyah Development Authority
Area : 7,615m2
Budget : £16.5 million