Desert X visitor centre inspired by the hortus conclusus designed the visitor centre of Desert X Al Ula in Saudi Arabia with circular frames that open up to the spectacular desert landscape.

Not far away from Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO site famous for its monumental rock-cut tombs, this year took place the first edition of Desert X out of the US. The Californian public art biennial, is taking place in the Al Ula desert with a series of 14 site-specific installations created in collaboration with the Royal Commission of AlUla (RCU), until the 7th of March 2020.

These monolithic structures mentioned above were the first reference of who designed Desert X Al Ula’s visitor centre. The shape is a squared parallelepiped with circular voids which refer to the hortus conclusus – their second reference – frequent in Arab culture: a garden characterized by a precise limit towards the outside and a symmetrical design.

The structure hosts an information centre, a café, and a courtyard shaded by a roof with a circular opening, which at the same time gives generous views to the context. The building’s few precise openings towards selected viewpoints create a clear contrast between the domestic scale and the immense surrounding rocks.

Visitor Center Desert X Al Ula
Al Ula
visitor center
Royal commision of AlUla

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