HKS Architects designed a 20,000-seat Arena for Diriyah

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The Diriyah Gate Company Limited commissioned HKS to create a technologically advanced, globally significant arena that is a timeless representation of place, the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Diriyah, geology, and culture. The arena features a 20,000-seat venue for sports and entertainment, reflecting the country’s traditional architecture.

The design team celebrates history, culture, and legacy by creating an arena for residents of the Kingdom and visitors who like to connect with Nadji culture and architectural heritage. While creating this atmosphere, the team embedded best international practices, innovative technologies, and high-performance energy targets into the project, creating a touristic hallmark. This project is also in line with promoting cultural and economic growth of the Saudi Vision 2030 to reduce the country’s economic dependence on oil.

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“The Arena in Diriyah is a cornerstone element of our mission to blend tradition with innovation. It exemplifies Diriyah’s unique lifestyle offering that harmonizes community, culture, and natural connection, setting a new standard for world-class destinations rooted in Saudi heritage.”

Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO of Diriyah Company

The Arena is inspired by the region’s natural geology and landscape while integrating traditional Nadji architecture motifs, highlighting the cultural legacy. The design also resembles ancient Nadji forts, palaces, and geological formations and stands out with a composition of stone monoliths. The monolithic volumes include luminous triangular perforations and angular openings. Between these volumes, HKS included variations of “digital waterfalls” animated by light glow. This dynamic facade and energy of waterfalls serve as a beacon and draw guests inside to experience.

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The 76,000-square-meter Arena includes a multipurpose venue and is adaptive and reconfigurable. It is suitable for various events, from intimate concerts to major international sporting events. Also, the large, paved plaza next to the Arena can be open for locals and visitors to provide an outdoor venue for live performances and pop-up shows.

The Arena aims to play a key role in connecting people to a place and to each other through its architecture and design. It highlights the uniting people in a common sense of cultural experiences and a harmonious blend of heritage and innovation.

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