Designed by the Norwegian architectural firm, Snøhetta, the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture is an engineering marvel that needs to be seen to be believed. The centre will house a world-class library, innovation and lifelong learning centres, museums, exhibits, multimedia venues and historical archives. The Centre will also host live events, conferences and enrichment programs for young people and adults.
The Centre’s design marries structure and function in a unique way. Components below ground – including the archives and the museum – focus on the past. Components at ground level, such as the performing arts spaces, are anchored in the present. And components in the Knowledge Tower, which include the Lifelong Learning Centre represents a vision of the future. The facility’s multiple components have separate but complementary functions that will blend seamlessly to offer visitors a rich and highly textured cultural experience. The modern building techniques that create the façade are complemented by one of the oldest techniques: rammed earth. A Rammed earth foundation delivers a fireproof, soundproof, well-insulated space using highly compressed natural materials such as sand, gravel and clay. The building has a number of unique features blending new and old technology and techniques. The façade is made from stainless steel tubes that are intricately and individually formed and bent, then wrapped around the building.
Guided by LEED’s (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) international standards of excellence, the Cultural Centre will be energy-efficient for years to come. Protected by a water based fire sprinkler system, a Zonecheck testing system has been implemented to save over 92,000 litres of testing water every year. In a land where water saving is of paramount importance, the state-of-the-art King Abdulaziz Centre benefits hugely from Zonecheck’s closed loop testing system that negates the need to drain off any water throughout the building’s 72 zones that span technical rooms, the knowledge tower, the administration building, library and auditorium. What’s more, using Zonecheck for testing negates the need for energy intensive fire pumps to operate for each and every test cycle. In a building where the life safety of all guests is essential, Zonecheck provides a code compliant and easy way to test the system providing peace of mind for all concerned at the technological marvel that is the King Abdulaziz Centre.