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Friday, 08 December 2017 11:08

Saudi Arabia’s ‘smartest’ building, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, recently opened to the public

Written by  TheStructuralEngineer.info

The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (KAPSARC), rising out of the desert landscape of Riyadh, 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. Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the futuristic building opened its doors last October for Saudi Design Week 2017. 

Made up of white hexagonal prismatic honeycomb structures, KAPSARC has been named by the Honeywell Smart Building Awards program as Saudi Arabia’s ‘smartest’ building due to its many eco-conscious features. It has also received the LEED Platinum certification, a leading green building standard—the first of Zaha Hadid Architects’ projects to receive the title. According to the architects, “a research center 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 center’s visual character”.

The 70,000-square-meter campus comprises five buildings: the Energy Knowledge Centre; the Energy Computer Centre; a Conference Centre with an exhibition hall and a 300-seat auditorium; a Research Library with archives for 100,000 volumes; and the Musalla, an inspirational place for prayer within the campus. Each building differs in size and is flexible enough to adapt to different uses or changes in requirements, while all five of them are interconnected and arranged around a large central courtyard, shaded with canopies.

‘Green characteristics’

KAPSARC minimizes its dependency from the grid with solar power, water recycling and passive cooling systems. The buildinguses its partially modular system to optimize solar orientation, increase connectivity, and maximize day lightning, and it is also equipped with a solar array that tops a south-facing roof providing renewable energy with a capacity of 5,000MWh per year. The building’s bright white façade features a strong protective shell to shield the interior from the harsh climate, blocking the sunrays while letting the structure open to north and westerly winds. Impressively enough, the building massing and facade optimization helped the structure achieve a 45% reduction in energy performance (compared to the ASHRAE baseline standards).

As far as water recycling is concerned, all potable water used in the building is recycled and reused onsite, and irrigation water is used from non-potable sources. It is also worth mentioning that 40% of the campus’ construction materials were locally sourced and 30% of the materials are made from recycled content.

Source: Eco techtube

 

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