Diriyah Gate

Sun rising above a cityscape in Saudi Arabia.

Located in the Northwestern outskirts of the Saudi capital city Riyadh, Diriyah is the original home of the Saudi royal family and served as the capital of the Emirate of Diriyah from 1744 to 1818. The Turaif district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes iconic places such as Salwa Palace and At-Turaif Bath House with traditional Najdi architectural typology.

Saudi Arabia has formed the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) to oversee the preservation and development of the historic site. It will become a major tourist and cultural destination covering 7 square kilometers and a key project to increase the role of the tourism sector in Saudi’s economic output to ten percent by 2030 in line with Saudi Vision 2030. The aspirational program will provide for 27 million local and international visitors by 2030. Many of these are expected to be People of Determination (disabled people).

Direct Access has worked with Middle Eastern architectural firms working on office developments and educational provision as part of the Diriyah Gate development advising on the applicability of the Saudi Building Code, Mostadam requirements, and drawing on international best practices in disability inclusion.

The goal of Direct Access’ collaboration was to preserve and protect Arab and national heritage for future generations while also invigorating accessibility for People of Determination local to the historic site, which will include the next generation of workers as well as international tourists.

Arabic women walking in the Diraiyah in Saudi Arabia.

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