The Influence of Najdi Mud-Brick Structures on the New Snøhetta Opera House in Saudi Arabia

The Influence of Najdi Mud-Brick Structures on the New Snøhetta Opera House in Saudi Arabia

Snøhetta, the architecture firm, has shared its plans for an opera house in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Taking inspiration from the area's traditional Najdi architecture, the Royal Diriyah Opera House is located on the outskirts of Riyadh and can host up to 3,500 people. It boasts a 2,000-seat opera theater, two 450-seat multipurpose theaters, and a 450-seat covered rooftop amphitheatre. The construction of the opera house is set to finish in 2028. Read more about it below on SURFACES REPORTER (SR):

Extraordinary Textured Facades

As part of the broader redevelopment plan for Diriyah, known for its mud-brick structures, Snøhetta's design incorporates textured facades made from palm, stone, and earth, inspired by the vernacular architecture and the nearby Wadi Hanifah valley's riverbeds.

The concept revolves around the transformative nature of earth from riverbeds, cracked under the hot sun, molded by wind and rain, resulting in distinct forms.

Impressive Seating Capacity

The cluster of buildings appears to rise from the ground, featuring open passages throughout. The opera house will house a 2,000-seat opera theatre, two 450-seat multipurpose theatres, and a 450-seat rooftop amphitheatre. In addition to performance spaces, the design includes a cafe, retail space, public gardens, and shaded outdoor areas, seamlessly integrating public spaces to enhance both cultural and recreational experiences.

Snøhetta's co-founder, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, emphasizes the project's aim to connect the area's rich history with contemporary culture, underlining the significance of the arts in building future communities. 

The Royal Diriyah Opera House aligns with Snøhetta's commitment to innovative cultural projects globally, as seen in their diverse portfolio, including an elliptical planetarium in France and a mass-timber museum extension in the US with a striking oculus design.

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