In Riyadh, the world’s first building constructed for selling digital arts


Diriyah Art Futures in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is the latest addition to the Arabian Peninsula’s system of cultural buildings. Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, it is part of the country’s Vision 2030 plan and was designed by Rome-based studio Schiattarella Associati, winner of the 2015 international competition. With its purely contemporary programme, Diriyah Art Futures is dedicated to the production, presentation and sale of digital arts.

The world’s first brand-new building for this purpose, it contains exhibition spaces, galleries, ateliers, artist residencies, research workshops and a media training centre. Its architecture aims to dialogue with the history and morphology of a precious context. The UNESCO site of At-Turaif is nearby, while the complex’s elongated lot coincides with the footprint of Diriyah’s old walls. An escarpment slopes down from the town to the wadi, a small fertile agricultural depression of the desert plateau. Diriyah Art Futures thus takes the form of “a border building”, in Schiattarella’s words. 

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