Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

London architect HKS to design Diriyah’s 20,000-seat Arena

How the Grand Boulevard Approach of The Arena will look Supplied/Diriyah
How the Grand Boulevard Approach of The Arena will look
  • HKS Architects is a stadiums specialist
  • Sports and entertainment venue planned
  • Ready in time for World Expo 2030

Saudi Arabia has hired a London-based architecture practice to design a sports and entertainment venue in Riyadh’s historic district of Diriyah, close to the site where a landmark opera house will be built. 

“The architecture rises from the landscape as a series of monoliths, evoking local geological formations and alluding to ancient Nadji forts and palaces that have animated and lit ‘digital waterfalls’,” Alex Thomas, lead architect at HKS Architects, said in a statement. 

HKS Architects, which describes itself as an architecture, interior design, planning and advisory firm, has won awards for its design of the SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Rams American football team, and the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.



Diriyah is one of the centrepieces of Saudi Arabia’s massive development plan, with a deadline of 2030 to complete the residential district, including the opera house, museum and arena when Riyadh is host to the World Expo

The government says it wants to make Riyadh, a once closed city, into a global capital and has allocated $348 million to host 100 countries eligible to participate in the 2030 Expo. 

Diriyah has already opened a retail and heritage district, which includes the palace quarters of the Al Saud family who first established a state in the 18th century. The $63 billion masterplan includes an ultra-rich residential and golfing district in Wadi Safar

Speaking at a real estate event in Cannes, Diriyah CEO Jerry Inzerillo said The Arena would be a 20,000-seat multipurpose sports, entertainment and cultural venue covering 76,000 square metres. He did not say how much it would cost to build. 

Supplied/Diriyah
The Arena Bowl, where concerts could be held

The Arena aims to be the Middle East’s premier venue of its type, “drawing visitors from across the globe and completely transforming the region’s events landscape”, Inzerillo said. 

After vast spending to bring global and Arab sports and entertainment stars to events in Riyadh over the past year, the city has succeeded in becoming the region’s cultural capital, Gulf-based diplomats say. 

Norwegian architect Snøhetta unveiled the design for the Royal Diriyah Opera House in December, with hopes to complete it by 2028. 

Jeddah Central, another giga-project, signed a contract in 2022 with Danish architect Henning Larsen and British consultancy Buro Happold for an opera house in Saudi Arabia’s second city. Construction contracts were signed in February. 

The giga-projects are owned by the Public Investment Fund, which is managed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

Latest articles

Adnoc sought advice from investment banks on buying a significant stake in BP, a media report said

UAE’s Adnoc explored acquiring BP

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) explored the possibility of acquiring British oil major BP but abandoned the plan as it did not fit into its strategic growth objectives, a media report said.  The talks did not advance beyond the initial stages, Reuters reported, citing informed sources.  The UAE state oil company also sought advice […]

Nature, Undersea cables account for as much as 90 percent of Europe-Asia telecommunications, Water

Iraq and Kuwait team up for European telecom corridor

Iraq’s Informatics and Telecommunication Public Company, a division of the Ministry of Communications, has signed an agreement with Kuwait’s Zajil Telecom to create a telecommunications corridor from the Gulf region to Europe, transiting through Iraq and Turkey. The new route will pass through Iraqi sea and land ports. Iraq’s minister of communications Hayam Al-Yasiri said […]

Turkish crude steel output rose 25% year on year to 3.2 million tonnes in January

Turkish steel in the black but EU rules rankle

Turkey’s steel industry has rebounded strongly from a weak 2023, despite facing new emissions standards and competition for important markets.  Crude steel output rose 25 percent year on year to 3.2 million tonnes in January, with domestic consumption of finished steel reaching 3.5 million tonnes, a 20 percent increase.  Exports were also up, increasing 23 […]

Passengers at Beijing Capital International Airport. Air China will fly from the airport to Riyadh three times a week.

Third Chinese airline to launch flights to Saudi Arabia

Air China is set to begin flights to Riyadh in May, becoming the third Chinese airline to establish a route to Saudi Arabia. It joins China Southern and Eastern Airlines in connecting China with the kingdom.  Air China’s Airbus A330-300 will serve the Beijing-Riyadh route three times a week. The expansion in capacity between the […]