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Culture centre by Snøhetta, Photo: Snøhetta

Culture centre by Snøhetta for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture is an initiative by the Saudi Aramco Oil Company to provide an appropriate venue for cultural development in Saudi Arabia.  The cultural facility located in the country's Eastern Province is to become a cultural lodestar on the regional, national and global horizon and offer a wide range of activities for both the Saudi population and visitors.

When completed, the project will feature various cultural facilities, including an auditorium, cinema, library, exhibition hall, museum and archive on approx. 100,000 square metres of space.

The auditorium, where events as varied as opera, symphony concerts, musicals and lectures are to be held, will be able to seat 930, and together with the smaller cinema will be an unrivalled venue for the performing arts in Saudi Arabia. The library is to contain some 300,000 open access books for people of every age, while the great exhibition hall will accommodate travelling exhibitions as well as social events, banquets and conferences.  

The museum and archive facilities will connect the vibrant cultural life of the facility with the past and with the roots of Saudi Arabian society.  Following the laying of the foundation stone by King Abdullah in May 2008, the cultural centre is now likely to be opened next year, although an exact date has not yet been set. Images released by the Norwegian architectural office Snøhetta, however, provide a good initial idea of what to expect.

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