Inaugurated today, King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST) unveils its centrepiece
At 60 m tall, the Breakwater Beacon provides an unmissable centrepiece for the US$7billion King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST), inaugurated today at Thuwal Point in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Designed by HOK, KAUST encompasses a total area of more than 36million sq m, the University campus occupies about 16 million sq m on land, and the remaining area is a vibrant offshore ecosystem that will be a sanctuary and part of the new University’s research areas of interest. Daniel Tobin, Principal of Australian-based Urban Art Projects (UAP) designed the centrepiece Beacon as a contemporary interpretation of a lighthouse, symbolic both for the university and for the location, overlooking the Safaa Harbor and the Red Sea. Drawing inspiration from ancient maritime traditions the structure is built in pre-cast concrete blocks merging from the sea to the tip of a latticed spire. Within the structure the lattice produces dappled shading for communal space including an amphitheatre and a reflection pond.
Breakwater Beacon is part of a major international arts programme at KAUST to celebrate its international platform of collaboration and exchange. Curated by UAP, the primary focus of the programme is to interpret and present interdisciplinary art and design that stimulates creativity and interaction, drawing inspiration from KAUST’s unique geography, science and technology-based research, language, text, regional histories and traditions. The programme includes work by the renowned Swedish artist Carsten Höller, who is known for his Unilever installation at the Tate Modern.