Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]


Interior Architecture

First Advisor

Liliane Wong

Second Advisor

Jehanzeb Shoaib

Third Advisor

Hassan Uddin Khan


Well-known historic sites in Saudi Arabia, such as Historic Jeddah, are designated as heritage, meaning they are protected from deterioration over time. However, in the Aseer region, there are over 4500 unprotected modest sites that provide an integral sense of identity and authenticity to the culture of not just this region, but the entire Kingdom. The absence of preservation guidelines has left these sites vulnerable to indiscriminate developments attempting revitalization. Undesignated heritage sites must be safeguarded and rehabilitated rather than neglected and left at risk of further decay, especially with the encroachment of tourism.

To preserve the sites’ authenticity and existing structures, this thesis proposes a collection of non-invasive physical and digital design strategies that aim to revitalize these unprotected but culturally significant sites with minimally undisruptive interventions. By repurposing these structures to contemporary uses, such as open-air museums, they shall remain active, integral to the community, and seamlessly integrated into the contemporary urban fabric.

This thesis uses Watan Emsoudah, an abandoned village on the highest peak of Saudi Arabia, as a prototype to apply these design strategies. A defined walking path will take the visitors in an interactive, immersive, and educational journey through the site; experiencing the past, present and future of what was, what is, and what could be with the use of virtual and augmented reality.

A place does not have to be an overwhelming monument to be worthy of preservation and visitor attention. This rehabilitation strategy could be extended to a multitude of underprivileged sites, ensuring their longevity, engagement, and forms of protection. Ultimately, this approach aims to promote heritage tourism, attracting both tourists and locals to learn about the region’s history and cultural heritage.



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