A Centre for the Building Arts

Presenting an arts and crafts Vocational Training Programme Jeddah — Al Balad

A partnership between the Ministry of Culture and The School of Traditional Arts


The establishment of The Centre for the Building Arts is made possible through the shared vision and partnership between The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts and the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture.

Together, we offer our programme’s participants an education experience at the highest level alongside a direct engagement in the vibrant regeneration of Al Balad. The programme focusses on using the architectural heritage of Al Balad as an educational and training resource through analysis and research, as well as hands-on practical training on the buildings in the Balad. This programme offers its students and graduates career paths through the Ministry of Culture’s restoration projects in Jeddah’s Balad.

The Centre for the Building Arts is a regional architectural crafts and design centre for a vibrant community of designers and craftsmen.

The programme uses the environment of Al Balad as a learning resource and contributes towards the regeneration of the architecture and the crafts that belong to the wide cultural heritage of Jeddah and Saudi Arabia.

The Centre integrates traditional arts and crafts in a contemporary context, through development of high standards of artistic and technical ability based on traditional craft techniques.

The Vocational Training Programme

The Vocational Training Programme is structured as a series of modules centred around a Crafts Workshop and Design Studio experience.

The programme provides a strong foundation in traditional Islamic art and crafts, architecture and design. It is created to develop students’ design knowledge and crafts skills to eventually undertake regeneration and commercial projects.

Open to craftsmen, architecture and art students, engineers and designers, our vocational and design training offers opportunities to those who wish to become proficient designers to engage with the building arts and crafts. It also develops graduates to pass on the traditional knowledge and skills they have learnt and developed.

After attending combined craft and design modules, students will choose to focus on design skills, or on mastering crafts techniques supported by focused project work. The programme will culminate in a major project set within Jeddah’s historic houses.

At the end of the programme, students will graduate with a Foundation Certificate from The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts.

On the Craft Modules students learn a series of craft techniques and transferable skills based on a master-apprentice method. These students will also be exposed to elements of design in the language of the traditional arts that supports their craft activities. Direct engagement with restoration work in Jeddah will provide a vital aspect of understanding the contextual importance of traditional craft skills.

On the Design Modules students follow a programme that helps them achieve a high level of artistic literacy and design application of the language of traditional arts. This education process will integrate craft components and workshop experiences for students to reach an integrated understanding of how things are designed and made. Research and practical engagement with the rich cultural heritage of Al Balad will inspire their contemporary expression of Jeddah’s living heritage.