Maraya, a multi-purpose concert and entertainment venue in Al Ula, North West Saudi Arabia has been named as winner in one of the world’s biggest architecture awards.
Al Ula is a destination of global significance with 200,000 years of human history and culture at the crossroads of ancient civilizations. The Architizer A+ Awards is the world’s largest awards program focused on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture.
Run by New York based Architizer.com, a seven million plus online community of leading architects, the annual awards consist of five peer judged finalists with one jury winner and one popular choice winner in each category.
A finalist in the Architecture + Glass category, Maraya was selected by distinguished luminaries from fields such as design, technology, real estate and fashion. Finalists were selected for excellence in architecture with criteria based on form, function and impact.
Maraya achieved the most public votes in its category to be named the 2020 popular choice winner.
Phillip Jones, Chief Destination Management and Marketing Officer at Royal Commission for Al Ula (RCU) welcomed the announcement saying that though Maraya is currently closed for further enhancements, the venue will be a key draw factor when Al Ula officially reopens to visitors as a year round destination in late 2020.
Maraya is one of the world’s architectural marvels, a total of 9740 square meters of mirrors supplied by Guardian Glass; cover the exterior walls of the cube shaped structure reflecting the vast and stunning desert surroundings of Al Ula. The building set a Guinness World Record for being the largest mirrored building in the world in 2019 with its 26 metre high theatre.
Maraya’s giant retractable window of more than 800 square meters opens to nature for an authentic experience blending nature and entertainment.
In Arabic, “Maraya” means mirrors. The building, by designer Florian Boje of Gio Forma, Milan was inspired by the landscape in the same way that the landscape has inspired architecture and art of civilizations from the Nabataeans through to this day.
International artists who performed at Maraya in its first year include Andrea Bocelli, Lionel Richie and Yanni. The site has recently been a location for commercial film shoots by luxury brands Cartier, Rolls Royce and Monot.
Al Ula was at the crossroads of cultural exchange for millennia. With Maraya, we are one step further to realizing our vision to recreate a place to dream, a place that inspires and facilitates the sharing of cultures and ideas, said Mr Jones.
Another focus for RCU is to deliver economic value to local residents and business via an ambitious business events strategy. With its central location in the GCC and enhancements including increased capacity, a dedicated conference floor, a ground floor restaurant and a stunning rooftop terrace, Maraya is well-positioned to host regional and international business events, conferences as well as weddings and other special events when it re-opens ready for business in late 2020.
Gio Forma’s Italian – German group of Florian Boje, Cristiana Picco and Claudio Santucci headed the architecture and design team for Maraya while Massimo Fogliati and Fabio Pavanetto of Black Engineering managed the project.