Despite its age, Tuwaiq Palace still looks majestic, with a commanding view of Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter. It is an excellent example of intelligent design, meticulous attention to detail, and painstaking planning.
The structure of this architectural gem, which anchors large tents and beautifully represents Najdi culture’s heart and soul, was completed and opened late in 1985.
It is interesting to see how carefully the materials used in the palace were chosen. In Riyadh, where temperatures can soar to 45 C in summer but drop to 10 C in winter, the white, woven tent fabric is used to reflect the sun’s glare, and the building’s local stone cladding blends seamlessly with the color and shape of its environment.
The Bedouin, nomadic people who live on the outskirts of urban areas, are referenced in the design of the tent structures, landscaping, and tensile structures.
Last year, the palace played host to the King Salman Urban Charter for Architecture and Urbanism exhibition, which laid the groundwork for urbanization and future architecture in Saudi Arabia.
The architectural heritage of Riyadh was neglected in the 1970s when large amounts of development and urban planning took place. King Salman, though, took a different approach to developing the city, one that emphasized ancient desert references.
We believe that national projects related to Vision 2030 will improve the architecture and urban design of our country, preserving its character, and express a unique identity closely linked to place and people.
The architecture of the palace was completed by Buro Happold, Atelier Frei Otto, and Omrania and Associates. They knew that preserving the original design’s integrity was critical to their customer, so they had to redesign it in a way that breathed new life into the old structure.
As part of the vision, urban growth was linked to place and identity contexts, known as “local character” or “spirit of place.” The necessary materials and appropriate colors that clearly signal compatibility with local and regional identity were used for structures that worked in harmony with the natural environment and climate.
As a result, Riyadh’s ancient history is still present today, providing residents and visitors with a lively cultural experience. Buildings like Al-Kindi Square, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, King Khaled International Airport, and King Fahd National Library are just a few of the daring designs that meld tradition and modernity.
The city’s architecture is spectacular as a result. Riyadh is unified by a unique design language that alludes to the Najd region’s traditional architecture.
Because King Salman cares deeply about local architecture and wishes to preserve the cultural identity of Riyadh’s region, where he was governor, we see his desire to preserve and protect the local culture. He has created a valuable resource for those interested in architecture and urbanism. We believe that national projects related to Vision 2030 will improve the architecture and urban design of our country, preserving its character, and express a unique identity closely linked to place and people. King Salman’s commitment to preserving our country’s urban character is fundamental to us.
There is much inspiration for Riyadh to become one of the most popular cities to live and visit, due to its growing business sector. We are seeing a lot of activities in Riyadh. It is a big city with over seven million residents. The King Abdullah Financial District is a prime example of this. The tallest crystalline office tower in the city rises 385 meters above the city, a testament to Riyadh’s ongoing urbanization and modernization.
What do you anticipate Riyadh’s status will be in 2030?
• Roba Aljohani is a writer who uses her background in journalism to uncover and tell interesting stories related to sustainability and culture.