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Addiriyah Museum at Salwa Palace

District d’At-Turaif – Ad-Diriyah - Province of Riyad - Saudi Arabia

In the royal palace of a ruined mud brick city, in the heart of the desert where the glass gallery of the American architects Ayers Saint Gross fits into, we have created devices, sometimes connected to digital tools, which, day and night, dialogue with the ruins, reflect the soul of the site and give keys to the history of the 1st Saudi state.

Stakes of the project

In addition

The Ad-Diriyah Museum is part of the vast archaeological complex in the At-Turaif district, which was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010. The city of Ad-Diriyah, located on the outskirts of the Saudi capital Riyadh, was the seat of the first Saudi state from 1744 to 1818. The Salwa Palace was the home of Mohammed Ben Saud, founder of the first Saudi state, a remarkable adobe brick architecture in the Nadji style that was ruined with the city by the Ottomans in 1818.

In this exceptional desert site, the architects of Ayers, Sains, Gross have created a journey through the ruins of the Salwa Palace, sometimes in a glass gallery through the history of the 1st Saudi State, sometimes outside in the daily life of the royal family of the founder of the Al Saud dynasty.

The scenographic journey gives the keys to understanding the historical, political and spiritual foundations of the contemporary Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through some sensitive acts of mediation: earth models emerging from the ruined walls showing the progressive conquest of the Saudi territory in the Arabian Peninsula; evanescent photographic interpretations of the relationships that were woven in these places ; raw clay bricks – a symbol of the city’s vitality – glazed and coloured, laid in the ruins to allow them to be decoded by digital application to create sensitive, non-intrusive signage; dynamic lighting in the ruins that moves with visitors like an oil lamp in the half-light, which alone can reveal the celestial vault above the desert.

The family tree of the Saud, an aluminium lace, grows and gilded as the visitor travels to the last gallery, which evokes the contemporary era in a majlis, a traditional place where people gather around political and social issues.

Sound atmospheres bring the place to life to the rhythm of events. At night, projections emerge from the ruins to underline certain significant architectural elements or to make the presence of the inhabitants felt.

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    Architects, leading firm : Ayers / Saint / Gross - Washington - U.S.A.

    Engineering office : Buro Happold - Londres

    Lighting design : Gilmore - Washington

    Exhibition design : Studio Adeline Rispal - Paris

    Interpretive planning : AP'Culture - Paris

    Multimedia engineering and design : InnoVision - Paris

    Sound design : Diasonic - Paris

    Signage : Autobus Impérial - Paris

    Construction economist : Davis Langdon - Londres