Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Builder: Hamad Al Qabaa
Al Murabba Palace:A Model of Najdi Architecture
Riyadh started as a very small, walled city. Once the Al-Murabba Palace and its associated administrative complex was constructed in 1939, Riyadh saw a new expansion of both the city as well as technology. The construction of
Al-Murabba led to the urbanization of the entire area to the north of the Old City Wall, and this expansion paved the way for modernization.
Najdi Architecture: Traditional and a New Approach
Even though the plan was for expansion, traditional ideas were still priority. Although Al-Murabba would go on to represent a new type of Najdi architecture, the actual building program led by King Abdulaziz, adhered to traditional Najdi approaches to preserve its character. In that way, Al-Murabba represents an example of traditional processes and building techniques used in a new way.
Al-Murabba created a new type of Najdi architecture that was larger in scale, and based on traditional Najdi Style the palace was built around a central courtyard. The new approach structured the internal area of the complex with grid-type road network. Buildings around the palace were built on the modular repetition of blocks arranged around courtyard. Ultimately, after construction, the area covered approximately 16 hectares (a square of 400 × 400 m), with the complex buildings an average height of two and one-half stories.
Al-Murabba’s Construction Brought New Technologies to Riyadh
The construction of Al-Murabba not only brought new architecture, but also new technologies for the first time to Riyadh. Electricity was now made available through the use of generators. In 1948 first electric elevator was installed in Murabba palace.
Al-Murabba was Renovated in the 1990s
In the late 1990s, the rehabilitation of Al-Murabba Palace was undertaken by the Riyadh Development Authority. The company Beeah Group Consultants were hired for the conservation work. Part of the palace was redesigned with in the Salmani style by architects Rasem Badran and Ali Shuaibi, who collaborated. The effort successfully preserved Al-Murraba, which served as King Saud’s residence, and later went on to house the King’s offices. Currently, Al-Murabba Palace serves as a museum.
Location of Al Murabba Palace