Zaha Hadid Architects completes Energy Research Center in Riyadh

Hexagonal pods interlock like honeycomb to form the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre, built in Riyadh.


 The 230,000-square-foot campus comprises five buildings: the Energy Knowledge Center; the Energy Computer Center; a Conference Center with an exhibition hall and a 300-seat auditorium; a Research Library; and the Musalla, a place for prayer.
Even after the loss of its eponymous visionary, Zaha Hadid Architects continues to churn out unique, shapely structures in the style of its Pritzker Prize–winning founder. The latest? The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, headquarters of the nonprofit research institute whose mission is to use effective energy for social good.
img.0 The buildings cut a striking figure in the desert landscape.

The 230,000 square-foot campus comprises five buildings and cuts a striking figure against its desert surroundings. For its unusual, geometric shape, ZHA was inspired by the crystalline structure of a honeycomb, rendered all in white. The design is also modular, anticipating the possible need for future additions, which can be easily integrated into the existing gridwork of "cells."
img.1 Not only does the building's geometric, honeycomb-inspired shape make for a unique aesthetic, it optimizes shade in the desert climate.

Appropriately, the project, ZHA's first to receive LEED platinum certification, demonstrates several eco-friendly practices in action. By optimizing the campus's shape and orientation and outfitting it with solar panels and wind-catchers, the firm achieved a 45 percent reduction in estimated energy use. 40 percent of the building's construction materials were sourced from a 500-mile radius; 30 percent of them are recycled; and 98 percent of all the building's wood is certified by the FSC. Additionally, all the building's water is recycled and reused for irrigation throughout its site.
img.2 The central courtyard.
img.3 Visitors pray in the Musalla.
img.4 The lobby of the Energy Knowledge Center.
img.5 Visitors talking in a courtyard.
img.6 Slanted windows prevent glare and heat from the desert sun.
img.7 The all-white interior also maximizes coolness.


For further information visit Architectural Digest.