Stretching across 9,000 acres on the Red Sea coast about 60 km north of Jeddah, is the sparkling new campus of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). KAUST is the vision of King Abdullah. The $23 Billion cost was financed by the Saudi Royal Family to create a world-class university and research center. Due to the King’s enthusiasm, KAUST was put on a super-fast track with the entire 600,000 m2 (6.2M ft2) of premium academic space and research labs to be completed from initial sketches to full occupancy in 3 years.
To meet this challenge, the Saudis retained HOK to head up the design and engineering effort. King Abdullah directed that KAUST be solar powered and SDA was privileged to be selected by HOK to provide design and engineering services for the solar energy systems, incorporating both solar electric and solar thermal technologies. The campus was recognized by the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) as one of the top ten sustainable design projects of 2010. For the first time in 2010, the COTE awards included a quantitative review of energy data, including data from the rooftop solar energy systems.
KAUST is the first LEED-certified project in Saudi Arabia and is also now the world’s largest project to earn the LEED platinum certification.
The King sees KAUST as a cornerstone of the legacy he leaves his country. This is especially significant as the express purpose of KAUST is to accelerate the development of sustainable technologies – what the Saudi representatives refer to as: “Post Petroleum Sciences”. Advanced solar technologies are central to that mission.