JEDDAH: Saudi students will compete to design cultural buildings as part of a ministry-led initiative to identify and hone in on young talent in the Kingdom.
The initiative, from the Ministry of Culture’s Architecture and Design Authority, was launched on Sunday.
There will be competitions covering areas such as urban design and planning, landscape architecture, interior, industrial and graphic design.
The first competition requires students to design public libraries in various Saudi cities. The buildings must be designed to accommodate the city’s cultural identity through a deep understanding of its social and historical context.
Nouf Alrashed, an architecture and design student who is in her final year at Effat University, said that such competitions were a great motivator for students.
“Such competitions allow us to apply all that we studied in our years of university and test our skills,” she told Arab News. “To have the opportunity to design a structure that will be a part of the community and have it be something that is a creation of a student is amazing and exciting. It shows the level of confidence and support by our government, and will push so many designers to be innovative and creative in their designs. That’s what we do, we go big and we think outside the lines.”
The initiative is expected to achieve several strategic goals, such as involving students in designing projects, discovering talent and skills at an early stage to orient students toward the appropriate career path, and increasing competition among university students, helping to raise education levels.
Architecture students from eight Saudi universities will be able to take part in the competition: King Saud University, Al-Faisal University, Prince Sultan University, King Abdul Aziz University, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Imam Abdulrahman Al-Faisal University, Dar Al-Hekma University and Effat University.
The competition is one of several strategic initiatives from the Architecture and Design Authority. It also aims to strengthen the relationship between the authority and universities as higher education is considered an incubator of talent.