UHAC, Saudi Arabia
The centre is integral to on-going works to preserve Diriyah’s historic UNESCO World Heritage listed site, continuing restoration programmes throughout the 120 km Wadi Hanifah valley and re-establishing its natural environments.
The 8,780m² head office of the Heritage Museum incorporates a permanent exhibition gallery, library, lecture hall, and other educational spaces, and establishes a scientific institution for conducting field research and documenting archaeological sites.
The design engages with its geographical and cultural context. An atrium with water at its core, around which the facilities are organised, is key to the concept, and this mirrors the waters of the rich and habitable oasis in the Wadi Hanifah valley. In addition, the design includes four ‘scooped’ green oases within its apparently solid facade. On closer inspection, the facade reveals a carefully-perforated outer skin that protects the interior from solar gain while maintaining visual connections with the natural surroundings.
The design attempts to relate to Diriyah’s local vernacular; through a contemporary interpretation informed by the same natural forces that defined Diryah’s historical architecture. The preserved buildings of Diriyah’s historic centre use earthen construction with thick walls and small exterior openings for protection from the heat and sun. This is reinterpreted as a double-facade which creates apparent solidity from the outside while allowing natural light and views of the surroundings from the interior..
Diriyah’s UHAC continues ZHA’s longstanding commitment to the region over some 30 years of working on transformational projects.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Four ways in which smart cities could make our lives better.
Mayor Sadiq Khan announces new Greener City Fund in drive to make London the first 'National Park City'.
BSRIA announce UKAS accreditation for sound absorption testing.
The full terms of reference are published for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
Read our introductory article into the role and practice of the architect.
Despite dividing opinion since its 1955 completion, Stalin's gift to Poland, the PKiN, is still Warsaw's most recognisible landmark.
Graduate Engineer Brittany Harris asks, what makes a great place to work?
Mayor Sadiq Khan publishes new guidance aimed at fast-tracking affordable housing projects through planning.
An estimated 90% of our time is spent inside, so could urban allotments be the answer to increasing health and wellbeing?
Why disputes occur and how they can be avoided.
Understand each building and its needs before exploring technical solutions and hiring consultants.
‘Device to Root Out Evil’ - an upside-down, New England-style church built with its steeple in the ground.