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Addoho Reviving Old Riyadh

Table of Contents Reviving Old Riyadh 3 Neighborhood Connections 5 Authentic Urban Design 7 Restoring the Quarter 9 Mud-Brick Preservation 11 Marketplaces and Mosques 13 Heritage Hotel 15

Reviving Old Riyadh The oldest neighborhood of mud-brick homes in Riyadh is being restored as part of a vibrant, mixed-use development designed by the Washington, DC office of Ayers Saint Gross for the Arriyadh Development Authority. The Addoho Quarter is being revitalized into a 4.5-hectare heritage neighborhood of restaurants, offices, hotel, markets and mosques within walking distance of major cultural attractions. New buildings modeled on traditional Saudi architecture will blend with restored mud-brick houses to create a feeling of historic authenticity.


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Neighborhood Connections The largest intact section of old Riyadh, the Addoho Quarter, occupies a strategic location within traces of the original walled city. It lies south of the National Museum and within short walking distance of the historic Al Masmak fort, Grand Mosque and several large commercial markets. The revived neighborhood will be linked to these landmarks through preserved streets and passageways within its dense arrangement of buildings. These pedestrian routes will connect to a proposed Heritage Trail intended to extend from the National Museum at the north, through the center of Addoho and to Salaam Park at its southern terminus. A major new Metro station will be constructed on the southern boundary of Addoho to bring people to the district.

Aerial view of Al Doho site model shows heritage hotel (foreground), public squares adjacent to heritage mosques (center right and left) and parking garage (top right).

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Al Doho Al-Hillah Future Mixed Use Development Future Hotel Development Future Garage Expansion

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Thumari Gold Souk Al-Musmak Maidan Al-Adl Al-Zil Souk Future Metro Station (Under Construction)


Authentic Urban Design In addition to learning about traditional mud-brick construction methods, Ayers Saint Gross studied the urban forms of the historic district – from street corners to plazas – to ensure restored and new structures will convey the character of old Riyadh with complete authenticity. Narrow, winding passageways bridged by tented canopies and the upper stories of houses will reintroduce street life within the quarter. Along the southern edge, the Wusaytah gate will be reconstructed within restored portion of the old city wall to provide access to the site. Concealed behind the adobe facades at the northern terminus of the development will be a 350-space parking garage for easy access to the various activities in the revived Addoho Quarter.


Restoring the Quarter As seen in the aerial view (Left), a significant amount of traditional architectural ruins remain, which, when restored will transform Addoho into a unique and vibrant historical district.

Street view of landscaped plaza.

Traditional mud brick buildings (light brown) will complement the modern infill buildings (dark brown).


Mud-Brick Preservation Today, much of Addoho’s mud-brick architecture is in ruins, requiring restoration through traditional building techniques. Ayers Saint Gross is working with earthen architecture expert Mahmoud Bendakir of MB Conservation to save as much historic building fabric as possible while making repairs with traditional handmade mud bricks. Aiding this careful restoration are point clouds, data transferred from laser-recorded measurements, to generate highly accurate drawings and documents of each surviving building. This information will also help in the recreation of new buildings inspired by the neighborhood’s 19th-century architecture and documentation of the site for future study.


Marketplaces and Mosques Clusters of converted mud-brick houses will support an indoor marketplace known as a “gayseriat� and stores selling traditional goods. At the eastern end of the neighborhood, a women’s souk will offer female merchants a place to sell their wares. The grandest houses in the quarter will be restored as interpretative galleries for indigenous arts and crafts. Two new mosques modeled on traditional Najdi architecture will replace two existing concrete mosques. They will be fronted by large plazas that will serve as gathering spaces and outdoor markets within the tightly knit neighborhood.

Date palms shade a limestone-paved market square where vendors sell traditional wares. Shoplined streets are shaded by canvas canopies between the mud-brick buildings.


Heritage Hotel A 42-suite heritage hotel, combining modern amenities with traditional settings, will offer unique accommodations within the district. It will be housed within restored residences to offer guests the experience of living in an authentic Saudi home with its “majlis� reception room and central courtyard. The houses will accommodate longer-term stays for visiting guests and their families. Ayers Saint Gross has developed an operational master plan for the hotel, identifying potential hoteliers to advance the concept. Supporting Addoho’s family-oriented environment, a large restaurant at the heart of the site will serve traditional meals in Saudi-style dining rooms. Ground-floor shops will be interwoven into buildings at the western edge of the site where modern buildings will be razed to make way for mixed-use buildings designed in a traditional style to blend into the neighborhood. These structures will incorporate office space on their upper floors to inject commercial activity into the site.

Courtyards of traditional mud-brick houses will be restored as part of the heritage hotel.


Urban Planning + Design, Architecture, Landscape Architecture: Ayers Saint Gross Conservation and Restoration Consultant: MB Conservation Engineering Services: Buro Happold Signage and Graphic Design: Cloud Gehshan Lighting Design: Glimore Lighting Design Quantity Surveyors: Faithful + Gould

Owner Arriyadh Development Authority Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Contact William Skelsey, Principal Ayers Saint Gross Architects + Planners +1.202.628.1033 wskelsey@asg-architects.com

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Addoho: Reviving Old Riyadh  

The oldest neighborhood of mud-brick homes in Riyadh is being restored as part of a vibrant, mixed-use development designed by Ayers Saint...

Addoho: Reviving Old Riyadh  

The oldest neighborhood of mud-brick homes in Riyadh is being restored as part of a vibrant, mixed-use development designed by Ayers Saint...