The King Abdullah Petroleum studies and research center (KAPSARC), planned by HOK, is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to the study of economics and technology across all platforms of energy. The development includes not only the site’s research center, but also a large residential community supporting the program’s international staff and their families. The scheme includes ten communal buildings (including a mosque, a library and a bowling alley), a 200-house residential neighborhood and four other utility structures.
As the center of the spiritual heart of the scheme, worshipers enter the mosque by climbing floating stone steps and traversing a glass bridge over the reflective pool that surrounds the structure. Clad with a perforated pattern of glowing windows and surrounded by glass, the building’s appearance changes depending on the time of day. At night, the glass box appears as a hovering lantern suspended above the ground, while during the day, shadows from the complex mullion patterns travel over the inner stone facade.
Viewed through the lens of a traditional mashrabiya wall, internal volumes feature interplay of light and shade. Wrapping all four walls as well as the ceiling, the screen glows with the natural light from the punched windows and skylights.