Saudi Arabia is once again pushing the boundaries of urban design with the launch of the New Murabba Development Company, which aims to build the world’s largest modern downtown in the Kingdom’s capital Riyadh.The crown jewel of the planned development is The Mukaab, which means cube in Arabic. At 400 meters in height, 400 meters in width, and 400 meters in length, developers say the structure will be the largest inner-city building in the world.
Inside this gigantic cube, the exterior of which will be inspired by the region’s traditional Najdi architectural style, will be the world’s first immersive destination — created through digital and virtual technology with the latest holographics.
This “immersive experiential” structure will house 2 million square meters of floor space and a premium hospitality destination encompassing retail, cultural and tourist attractions, alongside hotel and residential units, commercial spaces, and recreational facilities.
For one, it will provide a unique and unprecedented experience utilizing the latest technological advances in virtual reality. Visitors entering the Mukaab will encounter projections of varying landscapes, which will also be seen from the apartments comprising a spiral tower in the middle of the cube. Furthermore, it will provide Riyadh with a unique icon that will make the city instantly recognizable among other world cities, akin to the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Opera House.
The announcement, made on Feb. 16 by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund and NMDC, is part of a strategy to develop local industries, enhance the private sector, and provide new platforms for local content, real estate, and non-oil sources of revenue.
New Murabba is the latest of the Kingdom’s roster of mega- and giga-projects — which include NEOM, Red Sea Global, Diriyah Gate, Qiddiya, Aseer and Amaala — whose overarching objective is to transform Saudi Arabia into a world leader in tourism, technology and the creative industries.
New Murabba will be located at the intersection of King Salman and King Khalid roads in the northwest of Riyadh. It will encompass an area of 19 sq. km, and will accommodate hundreds of thousands of residents.
In total, the project will offer 25 million square meters of floor area, including more than 104,000 residential units, 9,000 hotel rooms, and more than 980,000 square meters of retail space, in addition to 1.4 million square meters of office space, 620,000 square meters of leisure assets, and 1.8 million square meters of space dedicated to community facilities.
According to the PIF announcement, New Murabba will offer a unique living, working and entertainment experience within a 15-minute walking radius and will have its own internal transport system. It will be approximately a 20-minute drive from Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport.
The project will also include a museum, a technology and design university, more than 80 entertainment and cultural venues and a multipurpose theater.