State oil company Saudi Aramco has invited firms to bid by 16 February for the contract to build its SR1.5bn ($400m) King Abdulaziz Centre for Knowledge & Culture, in the Eastern Province.

The prospective bidders include the local Al-Yamama Company for Trading & Contracting, Turkey’s Baytur, Dubai-listed Drake & Scull International, South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Saudi Oger, and South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction. 

Aramco chose to retender the scheme in July, after receiving bids from at least four companies in March. They were Saudi Binladin Group, Saudi Oger, Greece’s J&P Overseas, and Turkey’s Baytur Construction & Contracting Company.

According to sources working on the project, Aramco retendered the scheme in the hope of attracting lower bids after a fall in construction costs across the region (MEED 24:7:09).

The complex has been designed to resemble five pebbles standing in the desert, clad in stainless steel. Aramco says the pebbles will reflect the sun’s rays to make the structure visible over long distances. The centre will cover an area of 72,000 square metres.

The construction work covers five interconnected buildings. The tallest structure will be 15 floors high. They will house exhibition halls, a museum, an auditorium and theatre, a mosque, library and cinema.

Norway’s Snohetta is the lead architect.