When the area around the fishing village of Dammam became the first commercial oil field in Saudi Arabia in 1938, nobody could have foreseen that, almost 90 years later, it was to become the country‘s cultural centre.
Yet not only the choice of location is symbolic. The King Abdulaziz Center for Global Culture, a building complex also known as the “Ithra” (Arabic for enrichment), has been designed as a collection of stones that, although separate and differing in size, form a single unit as a mass of rock. The 80,000 m² facility contains, among other things, a library, a knowledge tower, an idea lab, a museum with four galleries, a cinema and theatre as well as an energy exhibition.
The lighting in the exterior grounds is in harmony with the natural language of the architecture. By day, the organic design of the Selux Olivio luminaires blends perfectly into the surrounding park landscape. At dusk the seven-metre Grande sized high poles from the Sistema design line with four arms and four luminaire heads each immerse the surroundings in a pleasant light – stylishly emphasising this spectacular building.
architect: Snøhetta, Norway
lighting designer: Buro Happold, London / AhmadElq
general contractor: ARAMCO, Dhahran
photographer: Buro Happold
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