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​​Sustainable Site Planning



Sustainable and Efficient Architecture that Reflects the Site and Climate

The KAUST campus architecture and design is a direct sustainable and efficient response to the given site and climate. Buildings are specifically located and grouped to maximize the benefits of the unique site microclimate and ecosystem, and mitigate the detriments of the sun’s movement and the harsh Saudi Arabian climate.

Massing and Orientation

In lieu of designing numerous stand-alone buildings, the design team opted to incorporate a monumental roof capable of connecting and shielding the campus buildings from the harsh climate. The roof will feature nearly 12,000 square meters of solar thermal and photovoltaic arrays that will harness the abundant and renewable power of the Sun, and produce up to 3,300 megawatt hours of clean energy annually. While the roof protects the buildings from excessive solar gain, atria and courtyards have been integrated throughout campus buildings to infuse natural daylight and facilitate natural ventilation into a majority of the interior spaces.

Monumental Reflective Roof


​In lieu of designing numerous stand-alone buildings, the design team opted to incorporate a monumental roof capable of connecting and shielding the campus buildings from the harsh climate. The roof will also host expansive solar thermal and photovoltaic arrays that harness the abundant and renewable power of the Sun. While the roof protects the buildings from excessive solar gain, atria and courtyards have been integrated throughout campus buildings to infuse natural daylight and facilitate natural ventilation into a majority of the interior spaces

Light-Colored Paving and Shade

The campus paving design incorporates light-colored stone indigenous to similar harsh climates – reflecting rather than absorbing heat. The reflective nature of the stone and the shaded trellises reduce the heat-island effect on campus and improves occupants’ comfort levels throughout the year.