Saudi Arabia's Maraya hall in historic AlUlawins major architecture prize

The cube-shaped structure is covered in 9,740 square meters of mirrors that reflect the breathtaking surrounding landscape. (Supplied)
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Updated 05 August 2020

Saudi Arabia's Maraya hall in historic AlUlawins major architecture prize

  • Maraya achieved the most public votes in its category and was named the 2020 popular choice winner.

RIYADH: Maraya, a concert and entertainment venue in AIUIa, northwest Saudi Arabia, has won one of the world’s biggest architecture awards.

The Architizer A+ Awards — hosted by New York-based community Architizer.com, a 7-million-plus online group of leading architects — consists of five peer-judged finalists, with one jury winner and one popular choice winner in each category. The awards promote and celebrate the year’s best architecture.

A finalist in the Architecture + Glass category, Maraya was selected by distinguished figures from industries including design, technology, real estate and fashion. Finalists were selected for excellence in architecture with criteria based on form, function, and impact.

Maraya achieved the most public votes in its category and was named the 2020 popular choice winner.

Philip Jones, chief destination management and marketing officer at the Royal Commission for AIUIa (RCU), welcomed the announcement, saying that although Maraya is closed for renovation, the venue will be have a key role when AIUIa reopens to visitors as a year-round destination in late 2020.

“It’s particularly gratifying to win the popular vote. Visitors are mesmerized by Maraya’s impact and the way it blends in so perfectly with its surroundings.

“Maraya has been conceived and designed in line with the RCU’s core values to develop AIUIa using a sensitive and responsible approach. AIUIa is a significant archaeological wonder and we look forward to welcoming the world when we reopen the sites,” he added.

The cube-shaped structure is covered in 9,740 square meters of mirrors that reflect the breathtaking surrounding landscape.

The building and its extraordinary facade were unveiled at a special ceremony staged by the Royal Commission for AlUla during the second season of the Winter at Tantora festival. The 500-seat venue has since hosted leading international artists, including Egyptian musician Omar Khairat and Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli.

It achieved a Guinness World Record for being the largest mirrored building in the world in 2019 with its 26-meter-high theater.

Maraya’s giant retractable window of more than 800 square meters can open to offer an experience blending nature and entertainment.

Maraya means mirrors in Arabic. The building, designed by Florian Bole and architect Massimo Fogliati, of Gio Forma, Milan, was inspired by the surrounding landscape.

The site was recently used a location for commercial film shoots by luxury brands including Cartier, Rolls-Royce and Monot.

Maraya is located 12 km from Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, Hegra.

The venue is undergoing further renovations, including increased capacity, a dedicated conference floor, a ground-floor restaurant and a stunning rooftop terrace overlooking the Ashar valley, oasis and desert surroundings.

Maraya will be well-positioned to host regional and international business events, conferences, weddings and other special events when it reopens for business in late 2020.


 


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Updated 18 min 27 sec ago

Saudi Arabia first in Arab world for issuing scientific papers on virus

NEOM: Saudi Arabia was ranked first in the Arab world for issuing scientific papers on the coronavirus, the government heard on Tuesday.
King Salman chaired a virtual session of the cabinet which reviewed various aspects related to the fight against the spread of the virus.
The Kingdom ranked 25th globally and 2nd in the Middle East for clinical research and studies on the virus, the cabinet was told.
The Kingdom reported 385 cases of COVID-19 on Monday and 16 deaths. A total of 5,217 people have died in Saudi Arabia of the disease.
The ministers were also update on the progress of the second phase of the gradual easing of restrictions for umrah pilgrimages and prayers within Al-Rawdah Al-Sharifah (the area between Prophet Muhammad's grave and his pulpit) for citizens and expatriates from inside the Kingdom.
The phase will allow up to 15,000 Umrah performers and 40,000 worshipers or about 75 percent of the capacity in consideration of health protocols to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.
The first phase had allowed those within the Kingdom to perform Umrah at a capacity of 30 percent from Oct. 4., equivalent to 6,000 pilgrims per day.
The ministers also addressed the final communique of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Banks Governors Meeting which reaffirmed determination to continue to use all available policy tools to aid with the recovery from the pandemic.
Separately, the cabinet welcomed the king’s restructuring on Sunday of the Council of Senior Scholars, Shoura Council and Supreme Court.
The decrees appointed 20 people to the Council of Senior Scholars, the Kingdom’s highest religious body.
The cabinet also reviewed the strategic dialogue between the Kingdom and the US.
The meeting focused on strategic issues, including combating extremism and terrorism, and confronting Iran's destabilizing and threatening attitude in the Middle East and disrupting global trade, the Saudi Press Agency reported.