The Jeddah Central Museum: an exhibition of Saudi Arabia’s transformation


The Jeddah Central Museum is the best example of modernization in Saudi Arabia, which will be a promising symbol of the region’s future. The project, designed by the British firm Heatherwick, under the direction of the Bean Architects team, is destined to become one of the largest art centers in the Middle East.

The 257,500-square-meter museum will be located in a waterfront district of Jeddah, replacing a former desalination plant by the Red Sea. As part of the Saudi government’s vision to upgrade the country’s economy, this museum will make a lasting and inclusive transformation, offering the opportunity to create a new turning point revolving around art in the area.

In Saudi Arabia, the technological development and modernization of public spaces are booming, and in Jeddah, one of the country’s largest cities, the Central Museum is at the forefront of this movement. Designed as a reflection of the rejuvenation of Saudi Arabia, this museum is an innovative and pioneering work in its field.

Looking ahead

Although the project is still in its early stages, experts say it is destined to be an integral part of the Arab nation’s tourism, commercial, and residential renewal plan. Preliminary designs show an elongated building covered with a silvery undulation. This silver cover, part of a low-carbon strategy for the site’s structures, serves a climate function integrated with the building’s architectural design.

The existing industrial structure of the site was considered and included in the construction of the museum. The main turbine hall, for example, will be transformed into a dramatic exhibition space.

In addition, the interior of the museum will contain studios and workshops for production and will host public programs and large-scale exhibitions. It will also showcase a wide variety of arts, from sculpture and photography to music, film, digital art, and theater.

Conceived as a cultural center with day and night activities, this museum embodies the country’s paradigm shift.  The Jeddah Central Museum will be located in the heart of the city, covering an area of 5.7 million square meters with tourist, commercial, residential, cultural, and recreational facilities.

The project is expected to attract local and foreign visitors and provide them with a unique cultural content experience. As if that wasn’t enough, the new commercial project will generate between 6,000 and 8,000 direct jobs in areas as diverse as art management, conservation, curatorship, education, and business development.


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