Art Jameel’s new centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, opened its doors December 6, 2021. Hayy Jameel, the Kingdom’s dedicated home for the arts, is designed by multi-award-winning architectural studio waiwai and conceived as a dynamic, creative, community hub. The launch of Hayy Jameel marks three-quarters of a century of Jameel family global philanthropy and comes to fruition in line with a new era for culture and the arts across the Kingdom. The name of the 17,000-square-metre creative complex is derived from an Arabic word for neighbourhood, to denote its intent as an accessible, communal and collaborative space. Hayy Jameel reflects Art Jameel’s commitment to supporting artists, creative communities and entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia and beyond.
Located in the residential north Jeddah area of Al Mohammadiyyah, Hayy Jameel’s building responds to its surroundings: tall façades that intimate the privacy of a home while allowing for interior openness, flow and maximum natural light.
Hayy Jameel is anchored by four Art Jameel programmes, plus the multipurpose space Fenaa, and joined by like-minded creative enterprises, known as Hayy Residents:
A 700-square-metre museum presenting robust, curated, museum-style shows – featuring Saudi and international artists and designers – that address themes of local and global relevance. Read more about Hayy Arts year-long roster of exhibitions here.
A community-focussed education platform with a rolling programme that embraces in-person and virtual learning, research and apprenticeships.
Makers’ spaces and facilities for hands-on learning and residencies.
Open to the public from December 6, 2022, the Kingdom’s first independent audio-visual centre expands the role of what a cinema can be. It includes a 168-seat theatre, a 30-seat community screening room, a multimedia library and an educational exhibition space. Imagined as a year-round home for the Saudi film community and local cine-enthusiasts, the cinema is designed by Jeddah-based architectural practice Bricklab, whose design won an international architectural competition run by Art Jameel. The expanded picture house was inspired and informed by Bricklab’s extensive research into the history of cinema in the Gulf, and interviews with Saudi and regional actors, directors and producers.
The design competition launched in February 2019 invited architects and designers to respond to a brief that foregrounded innovative and creative design; sustainable solutions; and technological excellence. The jury process was completely blind, with each applicant represented only by a number; the esteemed jury included Wael Al Awar, principal and co-founder of waiwai, the architects of Hayy Jameel; Faisal Baltyuor, CEO of the Saudi Film Council (SFC), a government body with a mandate to develop a vibrant film industry in Saudi Arabia; Butheina Kazim, co-founder of Cinema Akil, the first independent picture house in the Gulf, based in Dubai; and Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, partner at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).
The jury also commended the shortlisted proposals by Kuwait/Bahrain-based Civil Architecture and Lebanon-based Karim Nader Studio. Both studios’ proposals were highlighted for their innovative concepts and technological proficiency.
A multi-purpose, community space for events, performances, exhibitions, markets, workshops, talks and more.
Complementing the Art Jameel-run spaces, Hayy Jameel brings together homegrown partner-tenants (known as Hayy Residents) from Saudi Arabia who all play a pioneering role in their respective fields. The Hayy Residents represent a wide spectrum of creative disciplines, ranging from contemporary art and performance to design and publishing, as well as baking institutes, cafes and eateries. Details of these entities and their programmes can be found here.
The first Hayy Residents include:
All activity at Hayy Jameel is centred around Saha, the community courtyard, with landscaping rooted in concepts of sustainability and adaptability year-round. The steel structures of the building allow for the flexibility to reconfigure space as cultural trends emerge.