The cultural center is located at the heart of the oil fields which have been central to the formation and development of the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia. The site, owned by Saudi Aramco, will transform into a 70,000-square-meter cultural development to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the discovery of oil at this location. The multi-discinplinary center will contain a library, auditorium, cinema, multipurpose space, museum, learning center, playing area for children and an administration area, all organized around a main foyer. Each element is independent, represented by a different volume or ‘pebble’ in the overall structure, and together form an interdependent whole. Culture is not represented as a collection of individual efforts, but as a combination of ideas that interact and create a context. This context is unified by a 4,000-square-meter sunken plaza known as ‘the Source,’ a metaphor for the origin of Arabian wealth. It is the main entrance and also organizes the routes of access to the different ‘pebbles.’ Lastly, the volumes of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture that rise from the ground are clad in a reflective skin made of curved metal tubes representing the future and strength of the Middle Eastern sun.
Architect, Landscape & Interior: Snøhetta