Unveiled: Hayy Jameel, Jeddah’s new community space for the arts

The multi-disciplinary hub will bring Saudi artists, designers, galleries, and arts organisations together…

Hayy Jameel

The long-awaited Hayy Jameel, a sprawling 17,000-square-metre cultural complex for the arts in Jeddah, will open its doors this winter.

It is located in a three-storey building in the residential area of Al Mohammadiyyah in north Jeddah.

A multi-disciplinary creative hub

Hayy Jameel comprises Hayy Arts, a 700-square-meter exhibition space; Hayy Cinema, a 200-seat cinema that marks Saudi Arabia’s first independent cinema; Fenaa Hayy, a multi-purpose room for performances, workshops, and talks; and Hayy Studio, an artists’ studio.

Hayy Jameel

It also includes Hayy Learning, a community-focused education platform featuring a program that offers in-person and virtual learning, research, and apprenticeships.

Hayy Jameel

Meanwhile, Hayy Residents is a space that will bring together pioneering creative businesses from Jeddah, ranging from contemporary art and performance to design and publishing and baking institutes, new cafes, and restaurants.

The artful building

Hayy derives from the Arabic word “neighbourhood”.

The idea is to create a space that brings the Kingdom’s diverse cultural community together and nurtures cross-cultural dialogue and creative production. Hence, an architecture that resonates with its surroundings.


Tall façades reflect the intimacy of a private home. Yet, at the same time, the interior space is open and centred around Saha, a communal courtyard meant to be a re-interpretation of the traditional courtyard typology with surrounding landscaping rooted in sustainable and green practices.

The structure’s airy ambience is supported by natural light, which streams in from all sides, further enhancing the space as a place for easy dialogue and creation.

In addition, the building uses a steel structure with aluminium cladding and concrete flooring – elements that offer flexibility to reconfigure space as cultural trends emerge.

Hayy Jameel

The next chapter in Art Jameel’s journey

Headquartered in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the Jameel family has long been one of the Arab world’s most prominent patrons.

For decades, Art Jameel has supported artists and creative communities across the Middle East through exhibitions, commissions, research, and community-building, propelled by the belief that the arts can be open and accessible to all.

Its launch at the end of 2021 will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Jameel family’s global philanthropy.

Visitors can look forward to Hayy Jameel’s inaugural show titled “Staple: What’s on your plate?”, co-curated with London-based partner Delfina Foundation.

Inspired by Jeddah’s diverse demographic, the exhibition will explore the relationship between food and memory, ecology, and place through the works of over 30 artists, researchers, thinkers, performers, filmmakers, and other creative practitioners.

Can’t wait to check out Hayy Jameel? Neither can we.

Visit: artjameel.org / @hayyjameel

Images: Provided