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Futuristic architect lands arts centre in Saudi’s Qiddiya

The arts centre, designed by Tom Wiscombe, will be a futuristic building that straddles rugged mountains outside Riyadh Qiddiya Investment Company
The arts centre, designed by Tom Wiscombe, will be a futuristic building that straddles rugged mountains outside Riyadh
  • Tom Wiscombe designs chosen
  • Centre to include three theatres
  • A ‘beacon of creativity and innovation’

Saudi sports and entertainment city Qiddiya is to build a performing arts centre designed by leading architect Tom Wiscombe, whose futuristic building will straddle rugged mountains outside Riyadh. 

The centre will include 3,000 seats spread across three theatres including an amphitheatre with views of the capital. 

Qiddiya, one of the Public Investment Fund’s giga-projects, said in a statement the centre would be a “beacon of creativity and innovation that will elevate Saudi Arabia’s cultural landscape”. 



Saudi Arabia has heavily invested in arts and culture as part of its social and economic reform programme. Construction of a series of opera houses and museums is now underway in Riyadh, Jeddah and AlUla

Architecture has been another key element of the plans, making Saudi Arabia a playground for the world’s top designers. 

The lead giga-project Neom includes a horizontal city called The Line and a series of tourist resorts featuring avant-garde designs that seek to merge futurism with tradition and the physical environment. 

Architecture, Building, Convention Center According to plans, the performing arts centre is expected to host more than 260 performances and welcome 800,000 visitors a yearQiddiya Investment Company
According to plans, the performing arts centre is expected to host more than 260 performances and welcome 800,000 visitors a year

A Qiddiya official told AGBI that California-based Tom Wiscombe Architects, which has a reputation for cutting edge work involving vast crystal-like slabs, would design the centre.

Qiddiya declined to give the estimated completion date or cost. 

They were partly chosen for “leveraging the natural landscapes of the cliff and desert” and “innovative use of technology,” the official said. 

Wiscombe is one of a handful of global architects working on The Line. 

Artist impressions of the Qiddiya centre show it perched on the edge of the Tuwaiq cliffs facing Riyadh. 

With an original estimated cost of $9.8 billion, Qiddiya is planned to become a Disneyland-style suburb of the capital with Six Flags rollercoasters, a Dragon Ball theme park, a sports stadium and esports and gaming district.

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