Zaha Hadid's 'white crystal' petroleum research center taking shape in the desert [slideshow]

Construction work is under way on the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center's Research and Office Complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The steel framework for the 216,500-sf complex is complete, and work on the exterior is well under way. Photo: Zaha Hadid Architects
February 07, 2014

Like a crystalline form in the state of expansion, the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center's Research and Office Complex (ROC) will rise from the desert in dramatic fashion, with a network of bright-white, six-sided cells combining to form an angular, shell-like façade.

The project's design architect, Zaha Hadid Architects, released construction photos of the job site in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The steel framework for the 216,500-sf complex is complete, and work on the exterior is well under way (as images from SkyscraperCity.com show below).  

The ROC will feature a series of shaded outdoor spaces, courtyards, entrances, meeting areas, indoor gardens, corridors, underground tunnels, and roof terraces. It's part of a larger petroleum research complex that also includes a residential community (191 townhouses) and leisure and sports facilities, such as indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gymnasiums, aerobics rooms, a bowling alley, and sports grounds, as well as a library, restaurant, and supermarket.

The design team from Zaha Hadid Architects, led by Hadid, Patrik Schumacher, and DaeWha Kang, describe their design approach for the ROC: "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."

 

IMAGES AND RENDERINGS: ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS

 

 

IMAGES: SKYSCRAPERCITY.COM/HAMADX

         
 

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