KAPSARC (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre) is a non-profit institution for research into the most effective use of energy for social wellbeing. Developing policies to reduce the environmental impact & costs of energy supply and enabling practical solutions to use energy more efficiently, KAPSARC brings together experts from around the world to tackle energy challenges; freely sharing its analytical knowledge.
The 70,000 square meter 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, a place for prayer & contemplation within the campus.
ZHA's first project to be awarded LEED Platinum certification by the US Green Building Council, the centre is designed in response to the environment of the Riyadh Plateau to minimise energy consumption. Hexagonal prismatic honeycomb structures use the least material to create a lattice of cells within a given volume. This principle determined KAPSARC's composition as an amalgamation of crystalline forms that emerges from the desert landscape, evolving to best respond to the environment.
Presenting a solid, protecting shell to the harsh sunlight from the south, the campus opens to north and west; encouraging prevailing winds to cool the campus during temperate months via 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 cells gain in height towards the south, west, and east to shield internal spaces from direct sunlight. Wind-catchers integrated within the roof profiles catch the prevailing winds from the north, cooling each courtyard.
KAPSARC has been named Saudi Arabia's smartest building in the Honeywell Smart Building Awards programme, based on criteria that include environmental sustainability, safety and productivity.