The Influence of the Good Oil on the Contemporary Saudi House in Riyadh, From the Late 1930s to the Present
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2023-02-19.
© 2020 Waseem Qrayeiah
The transition from traditional to modern housing has passed through multiple stages from the late 1930s to the present in Saudi Arabia. One of the most important is the discovery of oil, which has impacted the built environment and modernized Riyadh City in particular and the country in general. Furthermore, the subsequent socioeconomic changes have influenced some of the social aspects of residential housing and house forms themselves. Also, historical events like the transfer of the government headquarters from Makkah to Riyadh in 1953 and the master plan of Riyadh in 1972 by the Greek architect Doxiadis influenced the regional identity and cultural continuity of society in Saudi Arabia. Further, the emergence of socio-religious movements in the late 1970s greatly influenced the Saudi house form. This thesis is an investigation of the development of Saudi middle-class housing in Riyadh from a historical viewpoint, using a sociocultural focus. In this research the significant forces will be determined that have shaped the architecture of the modern Saudi house and the leading changes in the traditional built environment after the discovery of oil in Riyadh in 1938. Additionally, the researcher will identify the architectural characteristics of post-1938 houses which enforced people to adjust their homes to meet their sociocultural values. A comprehensive study will be conducted to analyze the details of these houses in Riyadh, which will include various aspects of cultural, economic and policymaking forces that impacted both the people and the urban fabric. Although this research is based on a case study of Riyadh, its findings can be applied to other cities. This research is also not intended to take sides, nor to judge traditionalism or modernism in Saudi residential units. Instead, the significance of the state’s growth in wealth will be examined and how this is manifested in architecture and built forms. The researcher will try to find out how people have adjusted to their new city, and how their traditional and cultural values have adapted to the modern urban and architectural patterns.
KeywordsVernacular architecture; Contemporary architecture; Urban development; Housing; Riyadh; Popular architecture; Socioeconomic development
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