• Ezal

Ithra - an architectural and cultural feat

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

The King Abdulaziz Center for world culture or Ithra is as an all-purpose cultural center. The Center curates and hosts special events, film premieres, exhibitions, workshops, conferences, and more, and with this sets itself as an inspiring leader in the region and endowment of its visitors.

The architecture of the Ithra building combines stones that signify

unity by the Norwegian architectural firm, Snohetta. Just as the location was symbolic, the building designed with an obstinate interpretation of time with the tower symbolizing the future, the ground floor segments signify the present, and the underground components conserve the past. Ithra, had been listed as one of the 100 places to visit by Times Magazine in 2018.

The Center serves the Kingdom as a unique, refreshing source of boundless potential and emerging knowledge to nurture minds keen to learn, create, and produce.

Ithra aims to reconstruct a unique environment that is adorned with a knowledge-based community that glorifies innovation and its traditional culture with the ever-evolving nature of today's world.

The cultural center is also positioned in an idyllic landmark, at the Kingdom’s first commercial oil well, the Prosperity Well. The cultural center confers honour to the wealth brought forth by the discovery of oil. Keeping that sentiment in mind, Ithira now aims to represent a different source of energy: human energy. 

Their facilities include Idea Lab, Library, Ithra Theater, Cinema, Ithra Museum, Children’s Museum, Energy Exhibit, Archives, The Great Hall, and the Knowledge Tower; all of which are housed to provide engaging and revolutionary experiences to the visitors.

The construction of the edifice is formed of stainless steel tubes, intricately and individually formed and bent, covering around the building. The modern technique implemented is supported by an older technique: rammed Earth. Rammed Earth foundation composes for a fireproof, soundproof, and well-insulated area utilizing highly compressed natural materials such as sand, gravel, and clay from around the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Employing a conglomeration of established and innovative techniques, the building is overseen by LEED’s (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) international standards of excellence, ensuring energy efficiency for years. Ithra is a Gold, LEED-certified structure.

Photo credit: Saudi Aramco

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