Saudi Theater Academy


Case Studies

Saudi Theater Academy

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Impact Media
Financial Consulting
Concept Design
Preliminary Design
Architectural Design
Interior Design
Consulting Services
Feasibility Studies
Landscape Development
Saudi Arabia

Concept design of the Saudi Theater Academy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Concept design of the Saudi Theater Academy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The whole complex consists of 4 main parts and landscape

  • Theater Building
  • Academy
  • Entertainment Area
  • Parking Area
  • Landscape (and access to the building)

Lines of desert are forming an iconic play with light and shadows. Sensitive creations created by wind and sand as if the powerful hand of a giant mathematician shaped them. Their name of course is dunes. Architecture has to respect and adapt to the environment, but also to take lessons of nature forms. The whole concept is inspired by the desert dunes and inside the shell we create an oasis with plantation, water and mostly life.

The whole building is elevated to pose as a landmark. Two separated volumes arise, Theater & Academy, connected by a lower volume of the Entertainment area.

The main Theater is expressed by wind like formed masses that represent the desert dunes, clearly distinguished from outside. We designed circulation corridors, where possible, on the outside perimeter of the core of the building in order the people’s circulation to be seen especially during the night. Also rest areas are visible and face towards the center of the building. Public and open spaces, where interior life occurs, are also visible from outside. The created oasis (interior) consists of green areas and water elements and form walk pathways along the entertainment zone of the building, where a vigorous life shall be developed (cafes, restaurants, circulation areas etc).

The building’s facades consists of blind volumes and glazed parts protected by shading – louvers. Next to the main entrance, a video wall can be located on the façade of the academy or else, for advertisement and promotions.

Landscape is designed in such a way to lead people to the main entrance and furthermore to the heart of the building.

Bioclimatic aspect

Light is the source of life. So the exploit of it has to be implemented in the design. The architecture of our proposal makes the best use of it through a unique way in our building. There are sections that look unified with the environment through a transparent shell, others that accept it by controlling its qualities to the benefit of inner spaces and of course areas that are isolated.

A key element for bioclimatic design is building’s orientation. As in most warm temperate or subtropical climate conditions, unfavorable orientations are east and mostly west, due to overheating created during sunrise and sunset. Light during these hours and therefore heat, is diffused into the building through openings, creating at least unpleasant conditions of heat and glare. This is very important to consider during design.

From the very first sketches of design, Architect has to decide which parts of functions are to be placed on these orientations in order to protect other more sensitive spaces. This has a major impact on energy consumption, lowering significantly the necessary loads for air conditioning. In our design this was dealt by placing the Theater mass, that has minimal needs for natural lighting, to the west side and the taller Academy mass to the east, protecting this way the more glazed open spaces of Entertainment.

Solar and thermal protection of openings is achieved, mainly through external protection devices – louvers (stable or movables) and good quality energy glass panels. It is essential that window frames, must have good thermal characteristics e.g. a thermal break if Aluminum or a low conductivity coefficient if any other material. It is obvious that our design predicts louvers and good quality glazing. Metal louvers run along the glazed parts of the building, in order to protect the interior from intense sunlight and create nice features between light and shadow.

The glazed Entertainment area gives the impression of open space through the diffused light, planting and water elements that incorporates. Transparent roof enhances this sense. The main facades of the area are oriented to the North and South, in order to have controllable conditions of diffusing light. All shading devices, on both vertical surfaces and on the roof, shall be carefully examined at a later stage, through proper calculations of solar movement.

According to the available total budget, it shall be examined whether double skin glazings are to be installed, in order to create natural ventilation (and cooling) through siphoning of the air during the mild weather periods of year.

Our goal is, without question, to create a nearly Zero Energy consumption Building through maximum use of bioclimatic techniques and principles, on both the building shell and HVAC installations. Also, the building has to incorporate LEED or BREAM principles in order to have zero energy imprints.

Basic Functions Distribution


a. Foyers – Cafes – Public spaces and services : Organized and located around open space (connected vertically via lifts and escalators).

b. Basic auditorium halls : Closed volumes positioned at centre of Theatre building

c. Secondary uses : Storages – Laboratories – Technical support – Actors areas (dressing rooms, performance rooms, rest area for staff). Located at the back of building (west façade), connected vertically. (Loading area located on ground floor)

d. Mechanical rooms at basement.


a. Amphitheatre classroom/multipurpose room

b. Administration – Teachers’ area

c. Foyers – Cafes – Information

d. Classrooms – Laboratories (upper floors)

e. Library – Study rooms- Prayer rooms (Top floor)

f. Mechanical rooms

Building Description
  • The Theater Building

The Theater building hosts two theaters, the main one (big) and the experimental one (small).Main theater is situated on +21,00 level, hosts 1475 attendants, 970 on first level and 505 on the deck. VIP attendants can be seated on the first 5 rows of the main hall (200 seats). There are special galleries positioned on either side of the stage for royal members or V.I.P. visitors. Visitors can enter the main theater hall via 2 main entrances at the back of the hall, while VIP visitors use 2 separate side entrances at the front part of the hall. The VIP foyer with its café and rest area is located on the same level as main theater hall. Another visitors’ foyer is located on +27,00 level  next to deck. The theater is fully equipped and has all necessary spaces for secondary uses, stage and technical support (under-stage, left back stage, back stage, stage corridors etc.) Small theatre hosts 432 people all in one level (level +10,00). Foyer and service rooms are provided too. While all foyers are facing towards the interior of the complex, all storages, secondary uses and all type of labs needed for costumes and scenes etc are located at the back of the building and are vertically interconnected. All loading is happening on the ground floor at the back of the building. Actors’ areas, dressing rooms, performance rooms and prayer rooms are also located on upper levels at the back of the theatre building. Administration is gathered on one floor, level +15,00. Mechanical rooms lies under the building on 0,00 level. Movement is achieved via lifts, escalators and stairs. It can be used as cinema as well without the deck level.

  • Academy

Academy building is divided into two sections, male and female. Therefore two cores of lift and stairs are located at the centre of the building separating the building’s functions into two, male and female, in all levels. Multipurpose room/amphitheater classroom (used for educational purpose) can host minimum 478 attendants while seated. It is located on +5,00 level. Administration area as well as teachers area are gathered on one floor, level +15,00. Students’ rest areas, foyer, café and info are gathered one floor, level +20,00. Upper levels that are isolated from public spaces of the complex –and thus are quieter, are best used as classrooms and laboratories. Last two floors are used as library and study room together with prayer rooms.

  • Entertainment Area

Entertainment area lies on level +5 and a small part of it is located on level +10,00. As we enter to the building through the landscape, entertainment area is the first area to visit. It consists of 5 restaurants, 3 cafes, 1 dessert shop and 1 fast food restaurant. However kiosks and smaller retail could be positioned in certain spots along the interior of level +5,00. Sitting areas are distributed in the court, some next to green areas and water elements. Entertainment area is surrounded by glazed features and protected by shading where necessary. Main entrances lead to the entertainment area

  • Parking Area

A two level Parking is located under the landscape so that it doesn’t block the building’s facade and at the same time creates a green roof (which in our case is the landscape). Each level provides separate parking areas for the theater and the academy. Theater parking is divided into visitors area, women area (both on 1st level) and VIP area (on 2nd level). 360 cars can fit in the indoor parking.

  • Landscape (and access to the building)

Landscape consists of a large green area and a wide staircase which runs towards the main entrance of the building complex. Access by car is achieved on level 0,00 and can bring visitors straight to the entrance lobbies, where lifts are located and connect 0,00 level to upper levels. Furthermore, visitors who wish to use the parking area can enter the building complex via a large ramp which leads straight to the entertainment area, the heart of the complex. A street network is created around the building. A separate access is created for royal members together with a lift and a fire escape staircase.