Kapsarc, Riyadh

King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center’s (KAPSARC) residential community, located to the west of its new office complex, is designed to attract and retain world-class researchers by providing sustainable housing and amenities. The 494-acre development reflects the very type of energy-saving practices being studied by the Center. This community is the first project outside of North America to achieve LEED for Homes certification. Electricity is provided by a solar field – the largest in the Middle East – at the periphery of the site. The photovoltaic arrays are expected to supply 20 per cent of the energy for the community. Native landscapes, recycled water for irrigation, storm water management and energy-efficient construction contribute to the sustainability of the community.

The community is planned around a dry riverbed (wadi) that has been transformed into a central oasis. Residential blocks are arranged around this linear park so families and individuals can easily access its recreational areas. Sculpted mounds and depressions in the park provide separation from traffic on nearby streets and natural storm water drainage and collection. Apartments and shared amenities are clustered at the heart of the community. They include a dining facility and a library flanking a plaza shaded by tensile fabric structures. A recreation center, a natatorium and a supermarket are located at the edges of the central precinct. A short distance away is the community mosque in the park. The buildings’ sculptural, stainless-steel roofs convey the feeling of motion and extend to create flowing shade canopies for pedestrians.

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 tightly spaced and organized around private courtyards, and equipped with solar hot water heaters and a variety of sunscreens.