It may seem ironic, but even petroleum research centers can be LEED certified if they meet the critieria. Case in point: the King Abudullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC for short), designed by Zaha Hadid, is aiming for LEED Platinum. To be built in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the state of the art campus will house research and development facilities on energy and environmental exploration and analysis. We take that to read studies on better ways of finding more petroleum (which is hardly a practice we consider to be green) but at least the building itself is striving to be earth-friendly.
KAPSARC’s main building is a crystalline structure composed of modular six-sided cells with many connections between them, as well as a series of shaded outdoor spaces, gardens, and underground tunnels. Nearby, a modern library and conference center will aid in the center’s quest to become a preeminent energy research center. The KAPSARC complex will also feature a residential complex and recreational facilities for in-kingdom and expatriate researchers and their families.
As to the sustainability of the complex, a number of sustainable building techniques will be utilized in order to achieve LEED Platinum certification. The use of shading and natural ventilation will help keep indoor and outdoor spaces cool in the hot desert environment. Natural light will flood through the partial shading into interior courtyards and indoor rooms. Landscaping and building will take advantage of seasonal breezes to offer temperate zones for the comfort of residents and visitors. LED lights will be utilized throughout for more energy efficient lighting, and photovoltaics will help provide power to the complex.
Who ever said a research institute devoted to the study of fossil fuels can’t be in a green building? Still, the development would be a little more palatable had it been meant for another area of research altogether.