The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture is a design by Snøhetta that is currently under construction in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The site of the culture center is within close proximity to the ‘prosperity well, a national landmark commemorating the place where oil was first discovered in the Arab State. Following this idea of preserving prosperity and promoting future success, this design will stand to support Saudi Arabia’s continuous efforts towards social and intellectual progress, with a focus on creative cultural development.

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Courtesy of Snøhetta

The 80,000 square meter institution will contain various programs including world-class archives, library, learning center, a four-gallery museum and children’s museum, cafes and gift shops. The exhibitions presented in the building contain both rotating and permanent installations. Youth enrichment and innovation programs will also be hosted within the center, and it will act as a major venue for live and multimedia events.

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Courtesy of Snøhetta

Architecturally the design is inspired by Saudi Arabia’s geology and rock formations that preserve petroleum energy. The highest point of the structure is reached by what has been termed the ‘knowledge tower’ that is centered within smaller mountainous forms situated around it.

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Courtesy of Snøhetta

The cladding for the institution consists of individually shaped stainless steel tubes measuring a total of 350 kilometers long, tightly wrapping around the subtle curves of the exterior. In contrast to the steel tubes making up the industrial façade, Snøhetta also integrates traditional building techniques including the rammed earth method, which will incorporate such materials as sand, gravel and clay to form the walls of the center.

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Courtesy of Snøhetta

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