In Collaboration With: Michael Sorkin Studio, Saudi Diyar Consultants, Thinkwell, Level Infrastructure, BuroEhring, Klingmann Architects and Brand Consultants.
Project Location: Saudi Arabia
Total Area (sq.ft.): 80,729,328(approx.)
Competition Date: March 2018
Driving or flying out from Riyadh, an apparition appears in the desert: Camel City. Sheltering beneath a vast crescent of shade, a teeming cultural and recreational entrepot dedicated to the celebration of the global culture of the camel shimmers like a mirage. Located at the site of the great Saudi festival with its races, auctions, and beauty contests that already attracts two million visitors in January, the new city adds a vast range of activities, events, and facilities that will enliven the place around the year and draw tens of millions of visitors from around the world.
An event attended by two million people over a month's time in one place is a city. The Camel Festival of today is a temporary town, something between a settlement and an encampment: intensely active and crowded and then gone.
At the height of the event, tens of thousands of people a day pack the village and its grounds, creating a place that is boisterous and vivid, filled with crowds out for the races, for the camel beauty pageant, and all the associated activities and exhibits.
How to both house this singular spectacle and extend its aura-its vibe-over the course of the entire year? We offer two strategies. The first is a great intensification of the Festival itself. Beyond activities centered on the camel, we propose to dramatically increase the range of possibilitiesand entice visitors to commit to a longer stay. Our plan, therefore, includes hotels and restaurants, sports facilities, entertainment venues, and other attractions: allowing visitors to get away from ordinary life to enjoy the relaxation and stimulation of a magical place, rich with entertainment, culture, and life.
Our second strategy is to extend the possibilities of the village to make it into an attraction that will offer a powerful draw year-round for visitors from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the world. New and returning visitors will fill the town's attractions,
its museums, theaters, shops, sports facilities, and international exhibitions. They will eat in its food halls, restaurants and cafes, and venture atop camels (not to mention ATV's) out into the desert. They will gather with their families to linger and relax in the Paradise Garden that covers the roof tops of the buildings of Camel City.
What we suggest is a not a "theme park" but something more ambitious, a place that lies in the territory between a resort, an arts and entertainment district, and a town. The array of activities available will find their focus in the culture of the camel and in the meaning of life in the desert.