Designed by Snøhetta and heading for completion in 2017, The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture is a bold new initiative on the part of the Saudi Aramco Oil Company to promote cultural development within Saudi Arabia. Following an invited architectural design competition in 2007, Snøhetta were selected to design this prestigious cultural facility.
Located in Dhahran, in the eastern province, the cultural centre will provide for a wide range of activities serving the local population and will become a cultural landmark on a regional, national, and global horizon. When completed, the project will contain diverse cultural facilities, including an auditorium, cinema, library, exhibition hall, museum and archive.
The auditorium will seat 930 visitors and will provide for a wide range of events ranging from opera, symphony concerts, musicals, and speeches etc. Together with the smaller cinema, this will be an unrivalled venue for the performing arts in the Kingdom.
The library will become a centre for learning, containing some 200,000 books on open access, and catering for all ages and categories of users.
The great exhibition hall will accommodate large scale travelling exhibitions, as well as providing the setting for social events, banquets, and conferences. The museum and archive facilities connect the vibrant cultural life of the centre to the past and to the very roots of the society from which this centre is conceived.
On May 20, 2008, the foundation stone was laid by King Abdullah. The Cultural Center is expected to be completed in 2017. An opening date is not yet announced.
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