King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture
In 2007 Snøhetta won the competition to design a new cultural facility in Dharan, eastern Saudi Arabia. At 130,000m2 it is the largest project the architectural and design firm has ever taken on, comprising of an auditorium seating 930, cinema, library, exhibition hall, museum and archive. The venue, which will be finished in 2015, sits removed from other buildings and is a very emphatic object, taking its design from nature. It is designed as four oblong keystones, with the three smaller ‘supporting’ the largest, which rears up on its point and plunges into the ground. Most of the public areas are below ground, as you might expect from the local climactic conditions. The extraordinary reflective surface of the building is created by CNC bent stainless steel tubes.