Comprising of an 8,780-square-metre building, the preservation centre will contain facilities dedicated to protecting the Wadi Hanifah valley, a 120-kilometre-long wetland that cuts through the city of Diriyah. Including a gallery, library and lecture hall, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) have also incorporated educational spaces and a scientific institute for conducting field research and documentation of archaeological sites.
The various spaces are arranged in a manner that pays homage to the Wadi Hanifah valley’s oasis. Its facilities are to be arranged around an atrium that incorporates water, and featuring four “scooped” green oases within a facade that appears to be solid but in fact wears a perforated outer skin. Taking its cues from the rammed-earth structures of Diriyah’s historic area, the center boasts a double-facade that allows natural light and surrounding views to infiltrate the space, while also insulating it from the heat and sun.
“True authenticity resides in the balance between tradition and ever-evolving innovation,” said a statement from ZHA, in relation to the involvement of The Urban Heritage Administration Centre, which in collaboration with ZHA, hopes to play a significant role in the nation’s evolving cultural heritage through projects like Diriyah’s preservation centre.
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