What the King Salman Urban Charter for Architecture means for The Red Sea Development Company
By Taha Alandejani, Associate Architecture Director at The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC)
I was very pleased to have recently visited Tuwaiq Palace, in Riyadh to witness the launch of the King Salman Urban Charter for Architecture and Urbanism, which aims to celebrate and promote the national architectural identity of cities throughout the Kingdom.
The Saudi Architecture and Design Commission was responsible for the launching of this charter, a framework of extensive studies to further explore and understand the “Salmani” architectural style. The Saudi Architecture and Design Commission is close to our hearts at The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), and they supported our corporate Ecotecture design competition which commenced in 2020.
The TRSDC competition was curated for design students at architecture schools in Saudi universities and provided an incentive for young and experienced designers. The contest challenged students to come up with innovative architectural and urban design solutions for the project’s community center located in the coastal village. The students were encouraged to reach their architectural concepts and by analyzing the site including its relationship to the surrounding area, the environmental diversity, and the historical value of the region.
We placed a particular emphasis on challenging the students to aesthetically design the coastal village components while adhering to enhanced sustainability principles that contribute to the project’s ecosystem.
This concept of preserving the architectural and urban character of the place was very evident and stressed upon in the King Salman Urban Charter. Many examples of the architectural identity of the capital Riyadh were evident and made interesting observations starting from Tuwaiq Palace, where the exhibition was based.
We do have a great architectural heritage as showcased in cities throughout the Kingdom and in full evidence in Jeddah, Abha, and Dammam. This country already showcased its authenticity, drawing inspiration from history and its authentic cultural heritage!
If we can take into consideration the extensive guiding values and lessons the charter represents, we can lead the way in our upcoming architecture projects, and we can recreate local identities taking into account the unique elements of each of TRSDC’s to-be built destinations.
And since TRSDC is a leading developer company, and an integral part of the Saudi vision 2030, it is imperative that our designers from all disciplines consider the values of the charter. We are aligning with most of its values but what we need today is to concentrate on them and spread the word internally and externally across our design partners, consultants, and design teams. Nothing says sustainable and responsible more than looking at the architectural examples that exist in the Kingdom from decades ago by well-renowned international and national architectural firms.
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