zaha hadid completes petroleum research centre in Riyadh

KAPSARC ( King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre) located in the heart of Riyadh opens to the public, just in time for the  Saudi Design Week. named Saudi Arabia’s ‘smartest’ structure due to  its energy saving measures; re-purposing construction materials,and overall energy saving  features. This mostly modernist building feature as a campus  for the institute,  framed as a non-profit institution for independent research. it’s intended to enable practical technology-based solutions for energy usage.

The 70,000m² KAPSARC campus incorporates five buildings which differ in size and organisation to best suit their use: the Energy Knowledge Centre; the Energy Computer Centre; a Conference Centre with exhibition hall and 300-seat auditorium; a Research Library with archives for 100,000 volumes; and the Musalla, an inspirational place for prayer within the campus.

Photograph: Hufton+Crow


Photograph: Hufton+Crow

finished in 2017  by Zaha hadid   the Hexagonal prismatic honeycomb structures use the least material to create a lattice of cells within a given volume.  The honeycomb grid is compressed towards its central axis as an extension of the natural wadi that runs to the west. The six sides of the hexagonal cells also offer greater opportunities for increased connectivity when compared to rectangular cells with only four sides.

Photograph: Hufton+Crow

this modular design generates consistent organisational, spatial and structural strategies that drive all elements of the plan. each partition divided into its component functions, and can be adapted to respond to changes in requirements or working methods- additional cells can readily be introduced by extending honeycomb grid for future expansion of the research campus.This structural and organisational principle determined KAPSARC’s composition as an amalgamation of crystalline forms that emerges from the desert landscape, evolving to best respond to the environmental conditions and internal programme requirements.


Photograph: Hufton+Crow
Photograph: Hufton+Crow

The specific arrangement and form of KAPSARC’s buildings contribute to softening the strong light and heat of the Riyadh Plateau.surrounding  a large public courtyard shaded by canopies supported from a forest of crafted steel columns. Presenting a solid, protecting shell to the harsh sunlight from the south, the KAPSARC campus opens to north and west; encouraging prevailing winds from the north to cool the courtyard during temperate months and facilitating connections with any future expansion of the campus to the north, as well as creating connections with the researcher’s residential community to the west.

Photograph: Hufton+Crow

Privileging the pedestrian, each of the buildings within the campus is entered through this central public courtyard that also serves as a meeting space and link between buildings during temperate seasons.   Collaborating with international research centres, public policy organisations, worldwide government institutions and global industry, KAPSARC brings together leading experts from around the world to tackle energy challenges; freely sharing its knowledge, insights and analytical frameworks.

The KAPSARC has collected  the Leed award for energy efficiency, and sustainable ( for effective material use)  from the US Green Building Council.

Photograph: Hufton+Crow
Photograph: Hufton+Crow
Photograph: Hufton+Crow


Photograph: Hufton+Crow


Photograph: Hufton+Crow

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