Al-Turaif is part of the historic oasis of Al Dir’iya located on the banks of Wadi Hanifa next to Riyahd. It is the original home of the Saudi royal family and is one of the first World Heritage Sites in the Middle East. The Riyadh Development Authority under the Chairmanship of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, Amir of Riyadh, is sponsoring a two-term research lab on Al-Turaif. The Research Lab has two main goals: to produce designs and implementation strategies to bring the world heritage village back to life – to make it a living community; and to produce a design and development strategy for creating a tourism/resort community around Al-Turaif. The Spring term will begin with precedent studies for successful activation of world heritage sites and associated tourism facilities and strategies. Students will make a site visit to Saudi Arabia during Spring Break (March 10-16) where they will meet with representatives of the Arriyadh Development Authority, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, planning agencies, city officials, real estate professionals, and other valuable contacts. Students working individually or in teams of two will develop design and implementation strategies for that part of the assignment that is of greatest interest to them.
MDES students are encouraged to apply as well as students from Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, and Landscape Architecture. Students with a variety of expertise are sought including urban design, architecture, economics, historic preservation, landscape architecture, desert tourism, ecology, and real estate.