Diriyah Company and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City today announced the Royal Diriyah Opera House, which will be built in the heart of Diriyah, the Saudi capital city’s 300-year-old heritage quarters and the birthplace of the Kingdom.
The announcement was made during Diriyah Company’s celebrated Bashayer 2023 Event that also witnessed the unveiling of a strategic partnership with the world-renowned architectural firm Snøhetta to design the Royal Diriyah Opera House. The Riyadh-based Syn Architects also contributed to the design, infusing the project with local expertise and a deep understanding of the region’s architectural heritage.
The Royal Diriyah Opera House, first of its kind in the Kingdom and located near the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At Turaif in Diriyah, will be built by Diriyah Company and operated by the Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC), the entity leading growth and development efforts in the Saudi capital city.
A testament to the Kingdom’s commitment to celebrating its rich culture and heritage, the Royal Diriyah Opera House will be a key element of the second phase of the Diriyah masterplan. Encompassing 45,000 square meters, the opera house will be a beacon of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, showcasing Diriyah as a global hub of culture and creativity.
His Excellency Ibrahim Al-Sultan, Minister of State, Member of the Council of Ministers, and CEO of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City commented: “The announcement of the Royal Diriyah Opera House embodies our aspirations for Riyadh to be a city at the forefront of global cultural and architectural innovation. As the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh’s selection as the host city for Expo 2030 is a testament to our dynamic progress and vision for the future. The Royal Diriyah Opera House will be a cornerstone in this journey, showcasing the unique blend of our rich heritage and modern innovation. This iconic structure symbolises our commitment to creating a vibrant cultural hub that resonates with the spirit of Riyadh and positions the city as a leading destination for cultural and architectural excellence on the international stage.”
Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO, Diriyah Company, stated: “We are delighted to announce our collaboration with Snøhetta. A demonstration of Diriyah’s mission to attract the finest talents in the design world, we are committed to raising the bar of architectural excellence and celebrating our rich heritage through innovative design. As we set the stage for our next chapter of development at the Bashayer 2023 Event, this project sets the tone for the high standards we expect from designs that contribute to our visionary masterplan.”
Snøhetta, acclaimed for its imaginative and sustainable design ethos, will infuse the Royal Diriyah Opera House with elements inspired by the traditional Nadji architectural style that defines Diriyah.
Kjetil Thorsen, Co-Founder and Architect, Snøhetta stated: “Through thoughtful integration of tradition and contemporary aesthetics, we aim to create a timeless cultural symbol that resonates globally. We have a deep appreciation and respect for Najdi architecture, which carries the soul of Saudi heritage. By weaving the intricate tapestry of Najdi motifs into a contemporary architectural narrative, we endeavor to craft a space that narrates the story of Diriyah’s rich history while embracing the boundless possibilities of Saudi Arabia’s future.”
Informed by Najdi-style architecture, characterized by its intricate details and mudbrick-inspired construction method, the opera house’s design will create a seamless blend of heritage and innovation. This design vernacular paves the way for a vibrant future of culture-driven developments in Diriyah, anchored on the city’s rich historical legacy.
The Royal Diriyah Opera House will serve as a platform for a diverse program of cultural performances, reinforcing Diriyah’s mission to catalyze cultural exchange and engagement. The project also supports RCRC’s endeavor to transform Riyadh into one of the world’s best cities to live, work, and visit.
Announced alongside a plethora of sector-leading assets and cultural offerings, Diriyah Company’s strategic collaborations such as this one with Snøhetta, continue to set a precedent for architectural and urban cultural development excellence. The Royal Diriyah Opera House is the latest project to epitomize Diriyah’s role in becoming a driver of culture and heritage within the Kingdom and beyond.