ZHA's oasis-inspired cultural center will rise out of the Saudi desert

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There's no word yet on when construction is expected to begin on theĀ Urban Heritage Administration Centre(Credit: Methanoia)

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Its founder has passed away, but with new head Patrik Schumacher at the helm, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) appears to be taking on as many new projects as it ever has. The firm recently announced that it's going to build an oasis-inspired Urban Heritage Administration Centre in Diriyah, near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The result of an architectural competition launched last year, the Urban Heritage Administration Centre will measure 8,780 sq m (94,507 sq ft) and is part of a larger project to preserve the UNESCO World Heritage Site's rich history.

The building will serve as head office of the Heritage Museum and include a permanent exhibition gallery, library, lecture hall, and educational facilities, in addition to a scientific institution for conducting field research and documentation of nearby archaeological sites.

Like Hadid's Bee'ah headquarters, the building's design is inspired by the desert landscape. The local rammed-earth architecture is also referenced, though it still showcases Hadid's signature futuristic curves that we've come to expect.

The Urban Heritage Administration Centre will feature a double-skin facade to help shelter the interior from the harsh desert sun. The outer facade's skin will be perforated to allow a degree of natural light inside without increasing solar heat gain too much. The atrium is arranged around a large water feature and the firm says the building features four green "oases" (presumably lush garden spaces).

There's no word yet on when construction is expected to begin or be completed.

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