One of the most famous landmarks in the Kingdom’s capital has won a prestigious award for its unique and innovative architectural design.
Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) has received the American Concrete Institute (ACI) award for concrete construction excellence.
The hexagonal prismatic honeycomb structure of the institution has a futuristic feel and resembles a living organism. Walking through the campus grounds, the exterior of the building and hexagonal cell openings of the ceiling provide shelter from the harsh sun, but also soft shadows and shade.
The five different KAPSARC buildings are linked by an enormous design of hexagonal honeycomb units, supporting the energy computer center, the energy knowledge center, a conference center with an exhibition space and an auditorium, a research library and a space for prayer.
The design has solid technical and environmental considerations at its heart, unifying the five elements of the campus into one.
With 30 percent of materials made with recycled content, the crystalline form, angled to protect from sun heat to the south and open onward to the north and west, acts in a way like a growing live cell that responds to the environment it is in. It uses prismatic cells, known as “wind catchers,” to redirect winds from the north through the open space.