From Idea to Construction: the Design of Tuwaiq Palace

Tuwaiq Palace, Riyadh. Omrania | Atelier Frei Otto | Buro Happold. Photo © Arriyadh Development Authority


A new documentary by KSA’s Ministry of Culture reveals insights on the design of the award-winning Tuwaiq Palace, featuring an exclusive interview with Basem Al-Shihabi, the Managing Director of Omrania.


In a 10-minute documentary produced by the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia, Omrania founder and Managing Director Basem Al-Shihabi discusses the genesis of the design that emerged from the consortium of Omrania with BuroHappold Engineering and Atelier Frei Otto. Mr. Shihabi emphasizes aspects such as the “relationship between the exterior and the interior” and “the merge between old and new styles.” 

Completed in 1985, Tuwaiq Palace includes natural hand-cut stone walls as well as lightweight tensile structures composed of steel cables and silicone-coated glass cloth canopies. As Mr. Shihabi says, it was important to respect the lay of the land, so that “the hill preserves its natural look and features.” Lush plantings are concentrated in the inner garden court. These and other design features were recognized when Tuwaiq Palace received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1998. 

Learn more about Tuwaiq Palace, from the idea to the execution, in the documentary. 


Tuwaiq Palace: From Idea To Execution.  Documentary © Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia.