Text description provided by the architects. The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) outside Riyadh is a non-profit institution dedicated to studying all types of energy, including solar and wind power. KAPSARC’s residential community, located to the west of its office complex, helps attract and retain world-class researchers by providing attractive housing and amenities within a sustainable environment. The 494-acre development reflects the very type of energy-saving practices being studied by the Center.
The community is planned around a dry riverbed transformed into a linear park and central oasis. The landscape is mostly planted with indigenous, drought-tolerant species and irrigated with recycled water collected from building mechanical systems. Three apartment buildings with ground-floor retail, library, dining hall, recreation center, natatorium, mosque and supermarket are clustered at the site's heart. The apartments include one-story and two-story units with double-height living areas and balconies. Several of the sculptural, stainless-steel roofs extend toward the park to create flowing shade canopies.
Surrounding this core, the residential neighborhoods are designed to be compact, sustainable and pedestrian-friendly. The 191 villas, organized into walkable blocks, range in size from two-bedroom townhouses to six-bedroom villas. They are arranged along curving, shaded streets so views are directed inward to buildings and landscapes, rather than to solar arrays and utility structures on the periphery of the site. Garages and service alleys are located at the rear of the houses.
Accommodating 1,872 residents, the housing is designed to reflect local cultural traditions and provide sustainable solutions for living in the desert. The L-shaped villas are organized around private courtyards and equipped with solar hot water heaters. They are constructed of stucco and concrete with insulated windows and sunscreens to reduce heating and cooling loads.
The KAPSARC community is the first project outside of North America to achieve LEED for Homes certification, with 188 villas awarded LEED Gold, one Silver and two Certified.