Saudi Arabia's first opera house is being built in Diriyah

Saudi’s Diriyah Company and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City are set to build the Royal Diriyah Opera House in Diriyah.

The announcement was made during Diriyah Company’s Bashayer 2023 event.

Architectural firm Snøhetta will design the Royal Diriyah Opera House while Riyadh-based Syn Architects will also contribute to the project.

The Royal Diriyah Opera House, the first of its kind in the kingdom and located near the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At Turaif in Diriyah, will be built by Diriyah Company and operated by the Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC), the entity leading growth and development efforts in the Saudi capital city.

A hub of culture and creativity

The Royal Diriyah Opera House is an important phase of the Diriyah master plan. Spread across 45,000 square metres, the opera house will showcase Diriyah as a global hub of culture and creativity.

Ibrahim Al-Sultan, Minister of State, Member of the Council of Ministers, and CEO of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, said: “The announcement of the Royal Diriyah Opera House embodies our aspirations for Riyadh to be a city at the forefront of global cultural and architectural innovation. As the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh’s selection as the host city for Expo 2030 is a testament to our dynamic progress and vision for the future.

“The Royal Diriyah Opera House will be a cornerstone in this journey, showcasing the unique blend of our rich heritage and modern innovation. This iconic structure symbolises our commitment to creating a vibrant cultural hub that resonates with the spirit of Riyadh and positions the city as a leading destination for cultural and architectural excellence on the international stage.”

Jerry Inzerillo, group CEO, Diriyah Company, added, “We are delighted to announce our collaboration with Snøhetta. A demonstration of Diriyah’s mission to attract the finest talents in the design world, we are committed to raising the bar of architectural excellence and celebrating our rich heritage through innovative design. As we set the stage for our next chapter of development at the Bashayer 2023 Event, this project sets the tone for the high standards we expect from designs that contribute to our visionary masterplan.”

Kjetil Thorsen, co-founder and architect, Snøhetta said, “We aim to create a timeless cultural symbol that resonates globally. We have a deep appreciation and respect for Najdi architecture, which carries the soul of Saudi heritage. By weaving the intricate tapestry of Najdi motifs into a contemporary architectural narrative, we endeavour to craft a space that narrates the story of Diriyah’s rich history while embracing the boundless possibilities of Saudi Arabia’s future.”