Third year in a row that French architecture firms embark on a Journey of exploration in Saudi Arabia
Riyadh – Over the years, France and Saudi Arabia have joined hands in a dynamic partnership that transcends borders, uniting two cultures with a deep appreciation for architectural excellence.
In a significant step towards fostering collaboration and innovation in this field, the 3rd Edition of the French Saudi Architecture Day this year carries a unique and momentous significance as it marks a pivotal milestone in the journey of architectural collaboration between France and Saudi Arabia. Alongside the rich discourse, insightful presentations, and visionary discussions, this symposium has been emphasized by the historic signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the French Architecture Association (AFEX) and the Saudi Ministry of Culture, Design Department.
This event that was held under the patronage and the presence of Ludovic Pouille, Ambassador of France to KSA , and the Vice Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing H.E Mr. Ihab Hashani, marks the triumphant return of this event for the third consecutive year.
In its third edition, the symposium has introduced a comprehensive agenda filled with dynamic discussions and panels especially with the presence of speakers from Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC), Expo 2030, Sport Boulevard, Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), Boutique Group, King Salman Foundation, Royal Commission For AlUla (RCU), Neom, Red Sea Global and Soudha Development.
Over 30 prominent French companies representing a diverse range of architectural specializations have made their way to Saudi Arabia to participate in this business expedition. Their presence is merely the beginning of an extensive four-day program that encompasses workshops and meetings with key stakeholders of major projects in the Kingdom.
French architecture firms participating in this exploration include Aba Workshop, And Studio, Architecture Studio, arte, chaix et morel, AW2, Coldefy, Rougerie + Tangram, Hosta, Michel Remon & Associes, Richez Associés, S&AA, Stella Amae, Unanime, Zuo, MAF, Studio Falaj, Terrell, Setec International, VS-A, Blachere Illumination, Boa Light Studio, GHm Eclatec and Selux, each known for their outstanding achievements and creative designs in the field. Their presence in Saudi Arabia signal the desire to be part of the Kingdom’s architectural renaissance.
Madeleine Houbart, President of the French Architecture Association (AFEX), asserts that French architects have a vital role to play in the future of Saudi construction, aligning with the excellent relations between France and Saudi Arabia. Business France and AFEX are working hand-in-hand to further strengthen this collaboration.
One of the key objectives of her visit is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between AFEX and the Saudi Ministry of Culture (MOC), which aims to establish a foundation of trust and cooperation between the two organizations, serving as a platform for the exchange of architectural designs and practices. As part of this collaboration, young Saudi architects will have the opportunity to experience the inner workings of French agencies, gaining valuable insights into project design and management. Houbart emphasized that these young architects will be essential in promoting future partnerships between French and Saudi architects in the Kingdom and beyond. Ultimately, AFEX’s aspiration is to establish a representation office of French architects in Riyadh, modeled on the successful Afalula example, as part of an intergovernmental convention.
Houbart also highlighted AFEX’s broader mission in Saudi Arabia, stating, “We aspire to become a leading interlocutor for Saudi decision-makers in the fields of architecture and urban planning. Leveraging our extensive expertise in designing quality cities, such as Paris, we aim to share our knowledge and contribute to projects like Riyadh 2030 and other major developments. This is our vision for participating in the future of Saudi Arabia and, indeed, the world we all share.”
Mr.Yazeed Althunayan, Cofounder of INDEXA also commented : “Our participation in the Architecture Symposium is driven by the desire to emphasize the role of local firms in shaping Saudi Arabia’s urban development. We believe this collaboration will foster a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the field of urbanism.”
Althunayan, asserts that the architecture sector is currently thriving in Saudi Arabia, aligning with the goals of the Vision 2030 initiative. This strategic alignment focuses on the sustainability of cities, improved transportation, and enhancing the overall quality of life for the Kingdom’s residents.
Moreover, INDEXA is making significant contributions to building the city of tomorrow in the Kingdom, through the development of urban codes, strategic master planning, and urban & architectural design.
Antoine Moussa, a representative of the renowned eco-friendly cement solutions provider, Hoffman Green Mix, is participating in the Architecture Symposium with a clear vision of promoting collaboration and knowledge exchange between French architects and their Saudi counterparts. He highlighted the rapid growth of the architecture sector in the kingdom and its ability to embrace modernity while preserving cultural heritage. He underlined the sector’s vast potential for architectural innovation and advancement, making it a thriving field that aligns with the Kingdom’s ambitions for urban development.
Jayne McGivern, CEO, Sports Boulevard Foundation also stated at the event : “The Sports Boulevard is a central part of the transformation of Riyadh into a city for the next century as part of Saudi Vision 2030. We are proud to be guardians of the Sports Boulevard design code which upholds rigorous Salmani standards of architecture, density, material use, landscaping, and the sustainable use of power. We are working with numerous regional and international partners to create a world-renowned destination for residents and visitors and a new era for sports and wellbeing in Saudi Arabia”.