Saudi Arabia reveals plans for The Arena in Diriyah

Saudi Arabia has unveiled The Arena in Diriyah, a revolutionary 20,000-seat multipurpose venue designed by HKS, Inc.

Located on the outskirts of Riyadh, within The City of Earth, The Arena aspires to be the premier venue in the Middle East for sports, entertainment, and cultural events.

The design of The Arena, inspired by the surrounding natural geology and traditional Najdi architecture, encapsulates centuries of heritage while incorporating state-of-the-art technology to ensure flexibility, exceptional acoustics, and optimal viewing experiences.

The venue is intended to serve as a tourism and cultural landmark, drawing international visitors and significantly enriching the region’s events landscape.

Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO of Diriyah Company, emphasised that The Arena symbolises the fusion of tradition with innovation and is crucial to establishing Diriyah as a world-class destination deeply rooted in Saudi heritage. He said:

The Arena in Diriyah is a cornerstone element of our mission to blend tradition with innovation. It exemplifies Diriyah’s unique lifestyle offering that harmonises community, culture, and natural connection, setting a new standard for world-class destinations rooted in Saudi heritage.

The Arena’s versatile design will enable it to host a wide array of events in quick succession, enhancing the entertainment offerings of the region.

The Challenge

Wanting to attract people to congregate and celebrate at the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — Diriyah, the City of Earth — the Diriyah Gate Company Limited challenged HKS to create a technologically advanced, globally significant arena that is a timeless representation of its place, geology and culture.

The Arena in Diriyah

The Design Solution

The Arena in Diriyah is designed for residents of the Kingdom and visitors alike—for all who want to connect with Nadji culture and its architectural heritage.

HKS’ design builds upon this legacy while setting the stage for a healthy, resilient, digital future. The design team embedded international best practices, innovative technologies, and high-performance energy targets into the project.

The architecture is a composition of stone monoliths that simultaneously evokes local geological formations and ancient Najdi forts and palaces.

The arena rises from the landscape and a series of “digital waterfalls” animated by light glow between them. The visual energy of the waterfalls serves as a beacon drawing guests to the dynamic experience inside.

Every guest of the Arena in Diriyah will enjoy the highest calibre entertainment experience. Interior designers conducted extensive user research to connect with the local audience. The arena is designed to host myriad events, and quickly transforms to accommodate events ranging from intimate concerts to major international sporting events.

Architecture and design play a key role in connecting people to a place and to one another. The Arena in Diriyah will unite people in a shared sense of cultural experience and offer a harmonious blend of heritage and innovation while stimulating tourism and economic growth.

Make sure to check out all the latest sports and entertainment venue development news in the newly launched, subscription-only, SVB Global Report here.

Sports Venue Business (SVB) has unveiled a raft of new offerings for 2024 under the SVB LIVE banner, including Global Networking Events and a Webinar Series, culminating in an Annual Conference & Exhibition – to be held at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland, on October 9th and 10th – with an Expert Group helping to shape the conversation. We have also launched the exclusive, subscription-only ‘SVB Global Report’, outlining New Builds, Renovations & Major Refurbishments.

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