We had our last site visit to Riyadh to see the almost completed KAPSARC project and witness the last set of field water tests. The main research center building is by now occupied by the client, Aramco; and the other four buildings are getting finalized for handover too. The library building gets its book deliveries, the conference center has its seats installed.
The five buildings are connected by a tensioned fabric covered courtyard area. The geometry of the courtyard is something very unique, as the pictures show. In real life, it is a breathtaking experience.
Walking on the roof is like walking on the Moon, or at least in the desert with sand dunes. It will only be accesible by maintenance personnel, however it looks amazing.
Koltay Façades have been involved since 2012, as a technical advisor to the main contractor, Drake and Scull International, on facade design related issues, for construction design of certain elements, and design verification issues. The facades are predominantly clad with GRC (Glass Reinforced Concrete shell) units, all with unique geometry. Glazed openings, such as windows and skylights are integrated in the design. The buildings are arranged as organic cells, the perimeter walls and roof planes all inclined. The building is design by Zaha Hadid, who have been involved until handover. Engineering consultant was Arup.