Erick van Egeraat’s design proposal for the Addiriyah Art Center is neither exclusively historicizing or traditional, nor exclusively contemporary. Instead it finds a balance between incorporating and reinterpreting suitable elements of traditional Addiriyah architecture and urbanism, and completing them with contemporary design features that enhance the program of the building beyond current international standards.
This competition design proposal for the Addiriyah Art Center actively engages with its context, ecosystem and its users. The project is located directly adjacent to a wadi system that is being revitalized, and this design carefully enforces and respects the wadi. The building activates the site and aims to reveal to its users (visitors, scholars, in-house artists and staff) the full process of the creation of art from its inception up to the final art pieces on display.
Towards the west the building mimics the scale and the character of the surrounding buildings and the east façade provides uninterrupted views towards the green wadi valley through a long glass façade. The roofs are formed by domes that cantilever far beyond the glass façade. The cantilevers create a shaded outdoor area, allowing conditions in which artists can work, pupils can enjoy education, and where exhibitions can continue into the landscape garden. Sunlight is diffused and filtered by a geometric pattern that cuts through the dome roofs. The building is finished with terracotta tiles.
This design for the Addiriyah Arts Center creates a strong and comprehensive but subtle identity, displaying a detailed understanding of its unique local heritage and engaging a constructive relationship with its surroundings. It is not a silent museum, but an institute that activates and inspires people and brings them together.