RIYADH: The Diriyah Gate Development Authority has organized the first traditional architecture gathering at the historic At-Turaif district under the theme of traditional Najdi architecture in Riyadh.
The event, which began on Oct. 24, will end on Oct. 30.
In the alleyways of At-Turaif district in Diriyah, striking mud-brick buildings with geometric motifs and beautiful golden colors bear witness to the architectural style of the Najd region, a style that is distinctive to the center of the Arabian Peninsula.
At-Turaif district is the birthplace of the first Saudi state, an archaeological treasure of royal palaces, houses, mosques and defensive towers.
“The traditional architectural gathering will serve as a pivotal platform for scholars, researchers, experts, craftsmen and specialists in the field from around the world to explore, discover and better understand the historical context of ancient Najdi architecture,” said Jerry Inzerillo, group CEO of DGDA.
“The gathering will play a vital role in preserving the essence of this distinct architectural style, inspiring contemporary design and uplifting ancient Najdi traditions,” he said.
The traditional architecture gathering provides an opportunity for visitors, guests and participants to closely study the authenticity of At-Turaif’s traditional architecture and craftsmanship.
“Being in At-Turaif is always magical, but learning about the historical significance of At-Turaif in depth from a handful of experts and specialists made this visit a special and eventful one for me,” said Noah Davis, a US resident in Riyadh who frequents Diriyah.
“And with the workshops available here, I got to sort of apply what I just learned from the session I attended today,” she said.
The gathering’s first session was an introduction to Nadji architecture by Prince Nawaf bin Ayyaf, an architect researching Diriyah’s built environment and urban morphology; Hisham Murtada, a professor of architecture at King Abdulaziz University and an adjunct professor at Freie Universitate, Berlin, Germany; and Bader Al-Hamdan, the general manager of built heritage at the Heritage Commission in the Ministry of Culture.
“At-Turaif district is one of the places that can devote spatial values to restore human dignity, and I, as a Saudi citizen, feel proud speaking at the At-Turaif district, the place of establishment of the Saudi civilization that was born to last,” Al-Hamdan said.
“It is an icon and symbol that we cherish as Saudi citizens,” he said.
The event is hosting several sessions, workshops, live demonstrations, immersive rooms and exhibitions on the traditional Najdi architecture that helped to define the identity of the historic At-Turaif district.
The workshops are held at Saad Palace and Nasser Place in At-Turaif district, and include workshops on creating Najdi doors, on soil properties, and on Saudi heritage-inspired color schemes.
The traditional architecture gathering also features the work of young talents and recent graduates in an architectural exhibition curated by ARCH.
The architectural exhibition highlights the most prominent architectural achievements that seamlessly blend traditional elements with modernity, all while adapting to contemporary conditions.