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King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center

  • Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • 2009 – TBC
  • Under Construction
  • 66,000m2
  • Site Area: 530,000 m2
  • Footprint Area: 28,500 m2

Our architectural vision for a center focused on technical and environmental concerns endeavors to create an organic form – a structure capable of continual expansion and transformation – rising as a cellular structure of crystalline forms from the desert landscape – a strong protective outer shell concealing soft, porous sheltered courtyards within.

Our architectural vision and design for the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) acknowledges its technical and environmental objectives, but simultaneously endeavors to move beyond functional limitations to create a living, organic structure.

The center is inherently forward-looking; its architecture also looks to the future, embracing a formal language capable of continual expansions or transformation with no compromise in visual integrity.

The center emerges from the desert landscape as a cellular structure of crystalline forms, shifting and evolving in response to environmental conditions and functional requirements. Consistent organizational, spatial strategies drive an adaptive approach, with each component, each individual building, fitted to the purpose it serves.

Protective from without, porous within, the structure’s strong, hard shell conceals a softer environment – sheltered courtyards, bringing natural daylight into all spaces; buffer zones creating smooth transitions from a hot, glaring exterior to a cool, filtered interior.




Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher

Project Director

Lars Teichmann, Charles Walker

Design Director

DaeWha Kang

Project Leaders

Fabian Hecker (Research Center); Michael Powers (Conference Center); Brian Dale / Henning Hansen (Library); Fulvio Wirz (Musalla / IT Center); Elizabeth Bishop (Facades / 2d Documentation); Saleem A. Jalil / Maria Rodero (Master Plan); Lisamarie Ambia / Judith Wahle (Interiors); Bozana Komljenovic (2d Documentation); John Randle (Specifications); John Szlachta (3d Documentation Coordinator)

Construction Leads

John Simpson (Site Associate)
Alejandro Diaz Fernandez, Brian Dale (Interiors)
Elizabeth Bishop, Michal Wojtkiewicz (Facades and Canopies)
Monika Bilska, Malgorzata Kowalczyk (Services Coordination)
Henning Hansen, Ayca Vural Cutts, Michael Powers (Structure)
Ayca Vural Cutts, Sara Criscenti (External Landscape)

Project Team

Adrian Krezlik; Alexander Palacio; Amdad Chowdhury; Amit Gupta; Anas Younes; Andres Arias Madrid; Annarita Papeschi; Aritz Moriones; Ayca Vural Cutts; Britta Knobel; Camiel Weijenberg; Carine Posner; Carlos Parraga-Botero; Claire Cahill; Claudia Dorner; DaChun Lin; Daniel Fiser; Daniel Toumine; David Doody; David Seeland; Deniz Manisali; Elizabeth Keenan; Evan Erlebacher; Fernanda Mugnaini; Garin O’Aivazian; Giorgio Radojkovic; Inês Fontoura; Jaimie-Lee Haggerty; Javier Rueda; Jeremy Tymms; Julian Jones; Jwalant Mahadevwala; Lauren Barclay; Lauren Mishkind; Malgorzata Kowalczyk; Mariagrazia Lanza; Melike Altinisik; Michael Grau; Michael McNamara; Michal Wojtkiewicz; Mimi Halova; MohammadAli Mirzaei; Mohammed Reshdan; Monika Bilska; Muriel Boselli; MyungHo Lee; Nahed Jawad; Natacha Viveiros; Navvab Taylor; Neil Vyas; Nicola McConnell; Pedro Sanchez; Prashanth Sridharan; Roxana Rakhshani; Saahil Parikh; Sara Criscenti; Sara Saleh; Seda Zirek; Shaju Nanukuttan; Shaun Farrell; Sophie Davison; Sophie Le Bienvenu; Stefan Brabetz; Stella Dourtme; Steve Rea; Suryansh Chandra; Talenia Phua Gajardo; Theodor Wender; Yu Du

Competition Team

Lisamarie Ambia, Monika Bilska, Martin Krcha, Maren Klasing, Kelly Lee, Hannes Schafelner, Judith Schafelner, Ebru Simsek, Judith Wahle, Hee Seung Lee, Clara Martins, Anat Stern, Daniel Fiser, Thomas Sonder, Kristina Simkeviciute, Talenia Phua Gajardo, Erhan Patat, Dawna Houchin, Jwalant Mahadevwala



Interior Design

Woods Bagot

Landscape Design


Lighting Design


Catering and Kitchen Design

Eastern Quay and GWP

Exhibition Design


Branding and Signage

Elmwood and Bright 3D

Library Consulting


Cost Consulting and Design Project Management

Davis Langdon