Form and function should be joined in a spiritual union

Respect for natural surroundings - including the nature of the location’s individual characteristics, such as sun paths and shadows, wind direction, and terrain - is what ultimately evokes the strongest bond to that nature, allowing the Al Dana Amphitheater to be an organic and everlasting part of its existence. The materials and technologies chosen serve to complement that theme, allowing for a low impact footprint and meeting recycling/re-use objectives.

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Photo credit: Al Dana

The amphitheatre was essentially inserted into a quarry, and orientated to have the ‘Jebel’ as a backdrop. The sun path rises from behind the Jebel and sets behind the audience and the BIC tower in the distance. Additionally, a predominantly NW wind carries sound in the direction of the audience, maximizing the efficacy of the space as a theatre. Recycled materials were used where possible, including quarried rock sheet piles and shipping containers, and the simplified use of other materials such as raw concrete, recycled rubber flooring, or epoxy coatings instead of tiling and painting, which helped to maintain the design goal of a light touch.

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Photo credit: Al Dana

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Photo credit: Al Dana

Further design highlights include a detailed study of sound dispersion and low-level ambient lighting, allowing for flexibility in the use of the space, whether for a moonlight cinema, or an international race screening. The Back of House facility is state of the art and includes all of the necessary requirements for any high-level international act that the Kingdom seeks to attract. The area also boasts a secondary, more intimate venue that can host events during the off-season, including, but not limited to, House of Blues, weddings, private parties, and corporate events. The office structure provides enough space for all of the staff required for hosting major international events, as well as running and maintaining the facility. It also boasts a rooftop space offering spectacular views of both the race track and the amphitheatre.

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Photo credit: Al Dana

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Photo credit: Al Dana

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Photo credit: Al Dana

About S / L Architects

S / L Architects provide architectural and interior design services for residential, commercial, and special projects, from design concept, schematic (up to and including construction drawings), tendering, and building permit approval. The firm's highly experienced team of engineers also provide diligent site supervision and site management services, right through to project completion. S/L endeavors to develop unique custom designs that appropriately capture the sense of site, location, and culture, while innovating the concept with the aim of achieving a new vernacular that moves the architectural conversation forward and garners the firm a reputation for zeal. The firm forms part of an emerging movement that is pushing the envelope in the region, while delivering services imbued with its philosophy to the highest degree of professionalism, with a pragmatic approach that is economically viable for its clients. The firm leverages economy of means and materials, combined with an infusion of respect that should be afforded to the surrounding environment, while introducing, where possible, the concepts of recycling and sustainability in order to decrease the ecological footprint of the projects they create.