A Deep Dive into The King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism

Source: https://archdesign.moc.gov.sa

The King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism, a product of deep reflection, begins capturing & embracing the essence of the ambitious creative experiment in Saudi Arabia.

What is the King Salman Charter?

The King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism is a set of guidelines created for Saudi Arabian architects and urban enthusiasts who are willing to practice or explore innovative and sustainable architectural and urban design. The architectural form in Saudi Arabia has gained prominence  for its amalgamation and transformation of modern and traditional styles into a futuristic yet authentic expression.

Source: archdaily.com

The foundation of the Architecture and Urbanism Charter by King Salman is rooted in an ambitious creative journey, aiming to encapsulate the spirit of Salmani Architecture. This inventive endeavor evolved through the intersection of coexistence realities and a pursuit of excellence. It has been refined into both form and substance, earning a distinguished position among the diverse architectural styles worldwide.

Source: https://archdesign.moc.gov.sa

This charter plays a crucial role as a strategic cornerstone for both urbanization and the evolution of architectural practices. Simultaneously, it introduces a design approach that showcases the rich history and culture of Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, it functions as a valuable guide for decision-makers, experts, and individuals passionate about the realms of architecture and urbanism.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman’s architectural vision, forms the defining statement of the Charter. This vision promotes a flexible approach to achieving uniqueness and views authenticity as the essence of creativity. It also emphasizes the need for refinement, which can only be achieved by looking beyond the boundaries of time, place, and material to see the significant aesthetic contributions hidden behind them.

The Charter is a part of the 33 initiatives that were termed mandates under the Saudi Architecture & Design Commission for Saudi Vision 2030. It focuses on putting forth a descriptive design methodology that guides decision-makers, professionals & enthusiasts aiming to merge design with Saudi’s rich history & culture. Hence, the designed code proves to be a means for conscious urbanization.

Source: archdaily.com


Fostering architectural brilliance and enhancing the well-being of inhabitants by crafting architectural spaces that draw inspiration from cultural and environmental legacies while envisioning the future.

Source: archdaily.com

Core Values

The aesthetics of Salmani architecture finds its base in the core values formulated under the supervision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz. The design methodology defined in the document is a culmination of all six values, resulting in a design that will be of great importance to its users.

Authenticity comes to life when a clear design philosophy or a careful thought process is used to craft spaces that convey uniqueness, yet reflect the true identity of a place.

Continuity represents the evolution of a local community that celebrates national identity and pride, connectedness to the past, and a deep understanding of society and local culture.

Human-centricity suggests that design must be executed in a manner that promotes inclusivity & social equality. The aim should be to enhance the experiences of both individuals & community as a whole.

Livability involves actively working to enhance the quality of life by crafting a safe & appealing built environment that encourages the well-being of all citizens.

Innovation is the practice of participating in design discussions and creating an environment that encourages exploration.

Sustainability is the practice of protecting and promoting the environmental, social, and economic objectives of the project in addition to design & aesthetics.

Source: archdaily.com

Activation Strategy

The King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism includes various initiatives, services, and incentives. A strategic stage-wise activation process is in play via means of awareness, involvement, adoption, and advocacy. The initial phase of implementing the KSCAU’s strategy is publishing the Charter, followed by the traveling exhibition, the award, and the services incentives.

  • The Charter Document

    The Charter document was published in a book titled ‘King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism’. The Saudi Architecture and Design Commission was given the responsibility for the launch. It is said to be a  framework of extensive studies that enables exploration and understanding of the “Salmani” architectural style.

    This literary masterpiece focuses on the intricacies of Saudi’s architectural identity, showcased by a narrative of innovation and discovery. The Charter is a brilliant stroke of inspiration, aiming to guide architects through the diversity of Saudi Arabia. From the early stages of conceptualization to the final delivery of a completed project, this document serves as a guide through every stage of architectural creation. Aligned with the visionary urban developments constructed under the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, during his tenure as the Governor of Riyadh, the book is evidence of a harmonious blend of traditional and futuristic design.

  • The Exhibition
    Tuwaiq Palace, in Riyadh, witnessed the launch of the exceptional document. The exhibition was intended to celebrate and promote the national architectural identity of cities throughout the Kingdom. The emphasis on preserving the architectural and urban character of the region was prominently showcased in the numerous examples of Riyadh’s architectural identity, like the iconic Tuwaiq Palace, which was the venue for the exhibition itself.

    Source: www.moc.gov.sa

    The exhibition journeys through four distinct cities in Saudi Arabia: Riyadh, Dammam, Jeddah, and Abha. Raising awareness of the Charter’s methodology & six core values was the main priority. It allowed visitors to discover the application of these values, to give them an insight into the impact it has on the quality of life and the goals it seeks to achieve.

    Source: www.moc.gov.sa
  • The KSCAU Award
    King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism Award aims to recognize and support projects that have adopted the principles of the Charter, shown excellence in their execution and had a significant positive social impact. It is anticipated that the award’s first cycle will begin in 2022. The awards will comprise of three categories: (1) The built projects, (2) The unbuilt projects, and (3) the Students’ Design projects

Services and Incentives

  • My Little Architect Academy.
  • KSCAU Exhibition.
  • Guided Architectural Tours
  • Smart Research Toolbox
  • KSCAU Conferences and Events
  • KSCAU Audiovisual Content
  • KSCAU Community Platform
  • Ideas Contribution Portal
  • Learning Café – connecting minds
  • Research and Design Lab
  • KSCAU Competitions
  • KSCAU Award
  • KSCAU Certification Program
  • KSCAU Ambassadors


The King Salman Charter marks a fresh chapter in the urban revitalization of the Kingdom. Embracing its identity and cultural conservation, the Charter embodies the core principles of Salmani Architecture.

Rooted in its ties to local heritage and a steadfast commitment to conceptual integrity and form, Salmani Architecture assimilates the richness of contemporary architectural diversity while upholding its values.

Concurrently, it lays a strategic groundwork for the future of architecture and urban development, taking into account the historical and cultural context of Saudi Arabia.


  • https://archdesign.moc.gov.sa/en/kscau?utm_medium=website&utm_source=archdaily.com
  • https://www.archdaily.com/986633/learning-from-salmani-architecture-the-king-salman-charter-for-architecture-and-urbanism/633b05577120023d6a1521e4-learning-from-salmani-architecture-the-king-salman-charter-for-architecture-and-urbanism-image?next_project=no
  • https://www.commercialinteriordesign.com/architecture/king-salman-charter-ksa
  • https://www.redseaglobal.com/-/media-center/what-the-king-salman-urban-charter-for-architecture-means-for-rsg
  • https://wuf.unhabitat.org/event/king-salman-charter-architecture-and-urbanism-kscau-book
  • https://www.wafyapp.com/en/article/king-salman-urban-charter-exhibition-preserving-architectural-identity
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Mehar Deep Kaur
An Architect and Urban Designer by vocation, Mehar Deep Kaur is an accomplished educator and writer in the realm of architecture and design. She helms an academic journal, dedicated to disseminating knowledge about the built environment, and has authored multiple research papers on sensitive urban development, published in esteemed peer-reviewed and Scopus Indexed journals. An innovative designer at heart, she holds patents for her designs, focused on optimizing multi-functionality within compact products. Mehar is also empanelled with some online education platforms as a mentor and course instructor. The young academician is driven by the belief that living a deeply fulfilling and meaningful life requires approaching every endeavor with unwavering passion (Meraki).


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