Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Area : 70000 m²
Year : 2017
Photographs :Hufton + Crow
Manufacturers : Gutmann
Architectural Design : Zaha Hadid, Patrik Schumacher
Landscape Design : Gross. Max.
Lighting Design : Office for Visual Interaction
Interior Design : Woods Bagot
Engineering : Arup
KAPSARC is a non-profit institution for independent research into policies that contribute to the most effective use of energy to provide social wellbeing across the globe.
KAPSARC develops policies and economic frameworks that reduce the environmental impact and overall costs of energy supply and enable practical technology-based solutions to use energy more efficiently.
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 70,000m² KAPSARC campus incorporates five buildings: 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.
KAPSARC’s design has solid technical and environmental considerations at its heart, drawing the five elements of the campus into a unified whole. ZHA’s first project to be awarded LEED Platinum certification by the US Green Building Council, the centre is designed in response to the environmental conditions of the Riyadh Plateau to minimise energy and resource consumption.
The primary organising strategy of the design is a cellular, partially modular system that integrates different departmental buildings as a single ensemble with interconnecting public spaces.
Hexagonal prismatic honeycomb structures use the least material to create a lattice of cells within a given volume. 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. The honeycomb grid is compressed towards its central axis as an extension of the natural wadi that runs to the west.
A research centre is by its very nature a forward-looking institution and KAPSARC’s architecture also looks to the future with a formal composition that can be expanded or adapted without compromising the centre’s visual character.
The modular design generates consistent organisational, spatial and structural strategies that drive all elements of the plan. The six sides of the hexagonal cells also offer greater opportunities for increased connectivity when compared to rectangular cells with only four sides.
KAPSARC’s five buildings differ in size and organisation to best suit their use. Each building is 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 KAPSARC’s honeycomb grid for future expansion of the research campus.
The specific arrangement and form of KAPSARC’s buildings contribute to softening the strong light and heat of the Riyadh Plateau.
The buildings of the campus surround 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.
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. An underground link also connects the main buildings on the campus for use at the hottest times of the year.
With its strong, protective shell on the exterior that shields from the extremes in weather, KAPSARC’s architecture is porous within. Specific hexagonal cells strategically located within each building are left open to create a series of sheltered courtyards that bring softly-controlled daylight into the interior.
Orientated for the sun and wind conditions, the crystalline forms of the prismatic architectural cells gain in height towards the south, west, and east to shield internal spaces from direct sunlight, while the courtyards within are oriented to the north and northwest to bring indirect sunlight into the spaces below.
‘Wind-catchers’ integrated within the roof profiles on the southern sides of each courtyard catch the prevailing winds from the north, cooling each courtyard.
KAPSARC’s architecture promotes transparency and encourages an active exchange between researchers and visitors. By strategically off-setting floorplates, spatial layering effects are created throughout the centre to provide views to the floors above and below; offering transparency between floors in public areas designed as collective zones for researchers to meet informally and exchange ideas.
Secure areas and rooms requiring privacy are located within areas of each building where floorplates overlap.
KAPSARC was awarded LEED Platinum certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) through its application of passive and active solutions including:
KAPSARC has also been named Saudi Arabia’s ‘smartest’ building in the Honeywell Smart Building Awards programme. Based on criteria that include environmental sustainability, safety and productivity, KAPSARC received outstanding scores across all three categories.
KAPSARC was inaugurated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman in 2016, KAPSARC’s activities are funded in perpetuity by an endowment provided by the Government of Saudi Arabia.
Fahad Alajlan was appointed as the president of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in August 2021. Prior to joining KAPSARC, Fahad was the director of the Hydrocarbon Sustainability Program at the Ministry of Energy. He was responsible for looking at the long-term energy trends and their impact on energy markets including global demand for oil and gas. Additionally, he oversees the Circular Carbon Economy National Program, which aims to utilize a comprehensive framework to manage emissions while furthering the socioeconomic development of the Kingdom.
Fahad also worked at the Ministry of Economy and Planning in Saudi Arabia, advising on energy markets, policy, and trends, as well as the industry and petrochemical sector.Before that, he served for more than 15 years at Saudi Aramco, where he held senior positions working across operation, corporate strategy and investment planning, as well as mergers and acquisitions.
He holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Stanford University in California.
Dr. Fahad Alturki is Vice President of Knowledge & Analysis at King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC). In this role he oversees KAPSARC’s research programs and priorities, ensuring that these are strategically focused on impacts within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, both regionally and globally. Dr. Fahad interacts with key stakeholder groups within the Kingdom and internationally, in the private, academic, and government sectors. Moreover, he is responsible for setting the overall directions and parameters for collaboration with KAPSARC’s partners and affiliates.
Externally, Dr. Fahad is an independent board member of the General Authority of Statistics Board of Directors and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD). He frequently presents papers at a number of high profile local, regional, and international conferences, participates in roundtable discussions and is a well-known media figure in Saudi Arabia and overseas.
Prior to joining KAPSARC, Dr. Fahad was the chief economist and head of research at Jadwa Investment Company in Riyadh, where he managed the economic research department and published regular reports on issues related to the Saudi and global economies and the world oil market.
He was also the chairperson of the Public Funds Board, a board member of the Jadwa REIT Al Haramain Fund and Jadwa REIT Saudi Fund, and a member of Jadwa’s executive management committee.
Dr. Fahad has a proven track record in economics, with more than 20 years of experience in the field. Before joining Jadwa, Dr Fahad was the chief economist at Barclays, Saudi Arabia. Prior to his time at Barclays, Dr. Fahad was an economic specialist at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, where he worked for 11 years in the Economic Research and Statistics Department. Dr. Fahad has also worked as an economist at the Middle East and Central Asia Department of the International Monetary Fund.
Dr. Fahad holds a B.A. in Business Administration from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Oregon (Eugene, United States).
In May 2022, the Board of Trustees of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) appointed Saad Al Qarni as Vice President of Finance and Operations for the Center. Saad is responsible for leading the finance and operations functions of the organization and supporting the Center in realizing its vision.
Saad joined KAPSARC as Director of Information Technology in 2015. He spearheaded the modernization of the IT department, redesigned critical IT services and contracts, and introduced new platforms and automation. He was also responsible for providing strategic leadership and support for the Center’s transformation plan through the strategy refresh project (TASAMI project).
Prior to joining KAPSARC, Saad worked at Jadwa Investment, overseeing the technology development and support for asset management, private equity, and brokerage functions.
Before that, he managed online banking development in leading Saudi banks and led cross-functional teams to build the related business and technology foundations.
Saad holds a B.A. in Information Systems from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia.
KAPSARC has been working alongside the Saudi G20 Secretariat on programs that are associated with the G20 Summit that will be hosted in Riyadh in 2020. The Think 20 (T20) Engagement Group provides research-based policy advice, facilitates interaction and communicates with the broader public on important issues related to the G20 nations that represent 85% of the world’s economy and 75% of the global population. KAPSARC represented Saudi Arabia at the T20 summit in Buenos Aires in September 2018 and participated in the T20 inception meeting for 2019 that was held in Tokyo in December 2018.
KAPSARC and the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS) held the Think20 (T20) Inception Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on January 19–20, 2020
The T20 is an engagement group that contributes to the G20 by providing research-based policy recommendations to the G20.
The T20 communiqué presents vital policy recommendations developed by T20 Saudi Arabia task forces for consideration by the Leaders of G20 member countries during their summit in Riyadh in November 2020. The Inception Conference convened more than 150 institutions and think tanks, and over 550 attendees from 65 countries, to discuss a range of essential issues covering climate and energy, women and youth, innovation and technology, multilateralism, economic development and finance, food security and access to water.
Who is the architect for King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center?
Zaha Hadid Architects
For the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) by Zaha Hadid Architects, the team set out to create a building tied to global energy research and the local site conditions in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. KAPSARC is a non-profit institution founded in 2007 by the Saudi Council of Ministers
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