Australian firm Urban Art Projects says design was inspired by ancient Arabic maritime traditions, regional art and marine ecology of Red Sea
A 60m-high “contemporary version of a lighthouse”, known as the Breakwater Beacon, is being built as the centerpiece of Saudi Arabia's $7bn King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST) project, designed by architect HOK, which is officially launched today.
Australian art and design firm Urban Art Projects (UAP) designed the beacon, and says it will “act as a symbol for the university”.
The design was inspired by ancient Arabic maritime traditions, regional art and architectural detailing, plus the marine ecology of the Red Sea, the firm says. Built in pre-cast concrete blocks, the Breakwater Beacon's structure comprises unique amorphous hexagonal sections stepping up out of the Red Sea into an elliptical spire. The patterned skin of the structure creates dappled shading for an atrium inside and the building also features an amphitheatre and reflection pond.
KAUST will have a total area of over 36 million m2, including an offshore element covering roughly 20 million m2. The university campus occupies about 16million m2 on land. The project is in Thumul, which is about 80km north of Jeddah and an hour north of Mecca.