Diriyah Diamond

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia / 2020


The Diamond

This project is a semi-permanent structure planned for Diriyah Season 2020, an expo celebrating Saudi Arabia’s new vision for a post-petroleum economy built on technology, sustainability, and entertainment. Rather than the loose sprawl usually associated with expo events, this plan is based on the strict boundary of the ‘Trillion’ diamond, one of the most classic but rare diamond cuts in the world. This crystalline shape gives the project a clear identity and promotes density in its interior, which is organized like a mega-oasis with green space, water elements, and shade. The interior also contains digital media elements, robots, fine dining, a contemporary souk, exhibits on AI and 3D-printed architecture, tracks for electric vehicles, and equestrian events.

Future/ Ancient

The project seems both from the future and ancient at the same time, producing wonder and a sense of discovery. Familiar elements from the Saad ibn Saud Palace in Riyadh, such as triangular apertures and geometrical embossing, are deployed at multiple scales on the roof and elevations. Structures on the inside of the Trillion form are undercut to create spatial boundaries and shade. Wind towers, reminiscent of 19 th -century Saudi mud-brick towers, are used to pull cool air down into the oasis.

The overall silhouette of the project is dune-like, although care is taken to lift its corners off the land. The effect is as if the dune has “landed” on earth rather than emerging from it.

Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Site Area: 631,000 SM
Program: Semi-permanent expo