Riyadh's 500,000-square-metre Royal Arts Complex breaks ground

Project at King Salman Park promises to become 'centre of Riyadh’s art and culture scene'

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Construction has begun on King Salman Park Foundation’s Royal Arts Complex in Riyadh.

The project aims to highlight the cultural and social development of Saudi Arabia with the launches of the Museum of World Cultures, Royal Institute of Traditional Arts and National Theatre.

Spread over 500,000 square metres, the Royal Arts Complex is an integral part of the King Salman Park project, which was launched in 2019.

King Salman Park is projected to become the world’s biggest urban park covering an area of more than 16 square kilometres, and will be known as Riyadh’s “green lung” as the park aims to boost the global ranking of Riyadh among the “world’s top liveable cities”.

Within King Salman Park, the Royal Arts Complex will include a 2,300-seat capacity National Theatre, 110-metre-high Museum of World Cultures and the Royal Institute of Traditional Arts, which will comprise the Academy of Traditional Visual Arts, the Academy of Cultural Heritage and Restoration, and the Academy of Theatrical Arts.

In its sculpture pavilion, the complex will have three cinemas, two theatres, a library devoted to art and culture with a collection of more than 250,000 books, and an expansive exhibition hall to display the works of artists.

The complex provides multipurpose spaces such as an educational centre for the performing, cinematic and visual arts, and an outdoor amphitheatre.

Designed by the late Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill, the Royal Arts Complex promises to offer immersive experiences catering to culture and art in all its forms.

It will be the "centre of Riyadh’s art and culture scene, contributing to the creation of a rich and varied cultural legacy”, state news reported.

The design of the Royal Arts Complex combines natural elements and stories that represent the kingdom's past, present and future.

King Salman Park will have about one million trees, and a circular pedestrian walkway of up to of 7.2 kilometres, in addition to more than 11 square kilometres of open spaces.

Construction of the Royal Arts Complex began on Wednesday. The development is part of Vision 2030, among several other gigaprojects that aim to help diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil.

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Updated: May 26, 2022, 1:11 PM