Architecture Cultural Identity in Saudi Arabia - the Possibility of a Contemporary Interpretation: KSA Embassy in Madrid as Case Study


The paper discusses the result of an architectural design course at the senior level focused on exploring the meaning and scope of Frampton’s Critical Regionalism applied to the Saudi architectural context. With the excuse of designing the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Madrid, students are invited to reflect on the questions of Identity and Memory and to apply them to architectural design. While the identity is referred to as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the memory has to express the character of the host city, what it is or what it could be, according to its history. The complexity of the building’s programme will divide the work into three main parts; however, students are expected to exceed the purely physical reality of the building to achieve the metaphysical level, creating a structure that represents the identity of the country it means as well as the memory of the shared history of the two countries. Therefore, the students will resolve the dialectic between both countries’ specificities in their ways, which will unfold a variety of solutions and understandings on the main topics of identity and memory. Finally, the critical analysis of the student’s proposals outlines the bases for the performance of the architectural and cultural identity of Saudi Arabia from the point of view of their younger generation in a moment of significant changes in the country.


Beatriz Villanueva Cajide
Assistant Professor, Architecture, Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, KSA, Ar Riya?, Saudi Arabia


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design in Society


Architecture, Identity, Memory, Integration, Society, Community

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