Architecture giants contracted for Saudi Arabia project


Qiddiya Cliff Edge Stadium Image: Qiddiya

Saudi Arabia is going great guns. Their $500 billion project ‘NEOM’ revealed last year aims to transform 10,000 square miles of desert into “the world’s most liveable city.” The kingdom wants flying cars, a fake moon and 24/7 surveillance as part of the project.

The latest to hog the limelight is Qiddiya, the ‘Giga Project’ being constructed on the doorstep of Riyadh. Qiddiya is set to become the kingdom’s ‘Capital of Entertainment, Sports and the Arts’, with facilities and experiences that will bring together new opportunities and exposure at a scale and format never seen before.

Twenty-one architects – including nine US firms – have reportedly been contracted to work on the project. The US firms are – HOK, Populous, Arquitectonica, Morphosis, Asymptote, 5+, CallisonRTKL,
Rossetti Architects and Rockwell Group.

Qiddiya’s top official Michael Reininger said the area “will become Saudi’s capital for entertainment, sports, and the arts.”

“The climate in Riyadh remains quite hot for four to five months, and our master plan was designed accordingly. Buildings and spaces will be created ensuring there are sufficient shaded areas for the comfort of our visitors. We will introduce water and air movement to create micro-climates where temperatures can be controlled,” he further informed.

Five “zones” have been planned: The “resort core” will boast a car racing circuit, a Six Flags amusement park, an ice arena, and retail and dining facilities; A golf residential and community zone will boast golf courses, equestrian facilities, a hotel, and 20 villas; the “eco zone” will offer luxury tents, the chance to spot wildlife and go hiking, and zip-lining among other outdoor activities (of which golf is included again); a “motion zone” will basically let visitors drive cars at zip zap zoom speed, as the area will supply another racing track, this time part of a private racing resort, along with a high-speed loop for cars where “customers can discover their own cars’ max speeds,” and an off-road area.

Qiddiya’s “City Center” will be equipped with an aquatic center, multiplex cinema, two stadiums, a bicycle velodrome, sports school, mosque, and performing arts center.

All the aforementioned amenities and more will be designed by the architects involved, though it has not yet been finalized as to who will design what.

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