Modular Research Centre

The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (KAPSARC) created great interest when it opened to the public for Saudi Design Week. But for those unable to attend and enjoy the Zaha Hadid Architects’ masterpiece up close and personal, German photographer, Hans Georg Esch, has created a wonderful video for all to enjoy.

Taking us on a journey through the sprawling 17-acre campus, Esch uses wonderful film techniques including sweeping, birds-eye shots to highlight and showcase the exquisite, geometric building.

The institution collaborates with international research centers, public policy organisations, worldwide government institutions and global industry leaders to research into policies that contribute to the most effective use of global energy.

To create a relationship of openness and transparency between the public and the researchers, the building includes open plan spaces with canopied courtyards, split levels for transparency between floors and geometric cutouts to the façade. With a calculated undulating roof, the structure’s modular design easily allows for expansion.

Looking more like a render than a real-life project, the center’s seemingly crystalline-like structures emerge from the desert landscape.

“KAPSARC’s five buildings differ in size and organisation to best suit their use,” explain the architects. “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 KAPSARC was one of several designs by Zaha Hadid prior to her passing in 2016 and was Zaha Hadid Architect’s first LEED Platinum building – a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.