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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 January 2019

Art Jameel's plans for its new Saudi centre win a hat trick of awards

Dubai-based firm's designs praised for "radical" approach to mixed-use programming

A rendering of Hayy: Creative Hub's central courtyard, inspired by traditional Gulf architecture and conceived by Ibda designs. Hayy will open in Jeddah in 2020. 
A rendering of Hayy: Creative Hub's central courtyard, inspired by traditional Gulf architecture and conceived by Ibda designs. Hayy will open in Jeddah in 2020. 

Fresh off the opening of the Jameel Arts Centre, the Saudi organisation Art Jameel has announced new awards for its second major building project: Hayy: Creative Hub, in Jeddah.

Art Jameel already has a site there, in the Jameel House of Traditional Crafts, where artisans learn techniques such as woodworking, calligraphy and illumination. With Hayy, however, they are addressing the needs of the growing contemporary art community in the sprawling Red Sea city, which has lacked a central site where artists, filmmakers and other creative professionals could meet or collaborate.

The answer was Hayy, which means “neighbourhood” in Arabic: a collection of buildings conceived by the Dubai-based firm Ibda Design, who also consulted on the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai. The structures mimic typical Gulf architecture, with a central courtyard and shaded walkways on the upper storeys; the aluminium cladding and concrete flooring underscore, on the other hand, the contemporary aesthetic.

These plans have just won a hat trick of accolades: gold at the Hong Kong Design Awards, silver at the New York Design Awards, and it was honoured for exceptional design by the American Institute of Architects.

The designs were celebrated for how they met the challenge of the different types of spaces that Hayy will comprise. The AIA Middle East Awards, for example, deemed it " progressively radical in its cultural mixed-use programming."

The centre is due to open in 2020 and Art Jameel director Antonia Carver says the basic structure of the complex is now complete. “The remaining slabs will be in place by end of this month,” she says. “As the spaces vary in terms of use (cinema, galleries, cafe, restaurant, artists’ studios, arts centre and so on), and involve multiple partners, the internal fit-outs are quite complex, hence setting a date to launch in 2020.”

The site overall will be 17,000 square meters, or about the size of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Art Jameel will occupy a main area of the site, while other spaces will be occupied by different tenants and partners. Around three-quarters of them have been already allocated, as the site proceeds, and Carver says they are keeping some vacant so they can respond to any new needs that might arise in the cultural community before the completion date.

Public programmes will start as early as next year — announcements are expected to come soon — and the centre is currently hiring curatorial and management staff.

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Read more:

Changing Saudi art scene: New arts complex to open in Jeddah

Why Dubai needs the Jameel Arts Centre

Saudi artist Ahmed Mater: 'Art and culture now is about exchange, dialogue'

Updated: December 12, 2018 04:45 PM

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