Bee in the Honeycomb

Zaha Hadid Architects releases flythrough of crystalline desert complex

Architecture International
(Courtesy Hufton + Crow)
(Courtesy Hufton + Crow)

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) recently revealed a new video of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC), offering new perspectives for those who can’t make it to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to see it in person.

The sprawling complex spans 750,000-square-feet and is a nonprofit research institution focused on studying the relationship between energy policy and social well-being around the world.

King Abdullah Petroleum Studies And Research Centre (KAPSARC) from Zaha Hadid Architects on Vimeo.

Its design riffs off of structural and formal themes the architect developed over her career. Hadid was inspired by honeycombs found in nature and also designed it in response to the environment of the Riyadh landscape. The building features irregular hexagonal shells structured around open courtyards, with a skylight oculus over each courtyard to offer strategic lighting and shading. Other passive and active environmental solutions have led to a LEED Platinum certification from the United States Green Building Council.

The video showcases the building’s unique structure and gives an impression of how it feels to walk under the honeycomb-like cells. A walk-through in the video reveals the crystalline forms and modularity of the structure, which holds an energy knowledge center, energy computer center, conference center with an exhibition hall and 300-seat auditorium, a research library, and the Musalla, a place for prayer.

The building was completed in 2017 and was one of the final projects that Hadid oversaw before she passed away. It was also featured in AN’s recent Saudi Arabia’s feature.

Related Stories