The Knowledge Centre consists of 75,000 sq. m.  of offices to support the future expansion of the research and development campus of the King Abdullah Centre for Science and Technology which will eventually grow to accommodate 10,000 researchers and scientists. 

Main Responsibilities of Knowledge Centre

  1. Propose a national policy for the development of science and technology and develop strategies and plans necessary to implement them.
  2. Co-ordinate with government agencies, scientific institutions and research centres in the Kingdom to enhance research and exchange information and expertise.
  3. Conduct applied research and provide advice to the government on science and technology matters.
  4. Support scientific research and technology development.
  5. Foster national innovation and technology transfer between research institutes and the industry.
  6. Foster international co-operation in science and technology.
  7. Incorporating algae tube fit-out to produce high value bio-produce for drug, cosmetics and food industries.

Innovative Applied Environmental Bio-technology Design

The Knowledge Centre is presently out to tender for construction. The Knowledge Centre building massing has been designed in response to the climate of Saudi Arabia which includes utilising the vertical cores located on the east and west facades to reduce low angle solar gain whereas the atrium is orientated on the North-South axis which allows for northern light as well as southern light reflected off light shelves.


With the architects Lava Nation, Battle McCarthy are providing the development of the environmental and building engineering and landscape design services but also are providing applied bio-technology research and development integrated within the building and fit out environmental systems air treatment with bio breathing walls.

In particular, the Knowledge Centre has been designed to provide high air quality and is in excess of World Health Organisation (WHO) targets. This includes dust and VOC control through plants located at the fresh air intake in the basement as well as utilising plants on the upper floors and within the atrium to treat re-circulated air. Bio-breathing walls are also located within the office floor plate to remove pollutants generated by the occupiers. Not only does the air quality improve productivity, health and well being, it also reduces the quantity of energy required to pre-treat fresh air supply.

High Value Algae Production from Algae to Avoid Loss of Rainforest to Palm Oil Plantations

Presently the world consumes over 120 million tons of bio-oil with the majority produced from palm oil cultivated in the rainforest regions. With the demand expected to double in the next 20 years to meet the drug, cosmetic and food industries, growing demands in China, India and elsewhere will result in the loss of 500 km x 500 km rainforest unless produced from alternative sources other than palm oil plantations in rainforests. One alternative led by Unilever and others is bio-oil from algae.

The world's city populations will double by 2050 and traditional rural farming alone will not have the capacity to service the city without the city also providing the higher value food crops i.e. city farming algae production requires sunlight and CO2 and buildings require shading and produce CO2, and therefore the location of algae production systems ideal for both external and internal shading systems for producing high value bio products.

Internal Algae Tubes Producing High Value Bio-products for Cosmetic Industry

Adjacent to the perimeter glazing there is high solar gain in summer and night time cooling in winter. Localised thermal control is provided within the atrium and perimeter glazing with the use of radiant panels which consist of algae tubes. These algae tubes not only provide localised cooling and shading but also produce algae for high value bio-oil, pharmaceuticals and high value supplements for the food industry.

Summary of Bio-technology Benefits of Incorporated within Building Engineering Systems

  1. Reduce the building life cycle costs, through the implementation of plant bio-technology.
  2. Scrub the fresh air intake to remove airborne contaminants, dust and regulate humidity with fresh air plant houses.
  3. Remove interior airborne contaminants and assist in regulating humidity
  4. Reduce the water consumption through the implementation of hydroponic planting proposals.
  5. Psychological and physiological benefit of plants to interior landscape from bio-filter walls and gardens.
  6. Provide solar shading and thermal heat transfer through implementation of algae tubes to the building facade.
  7. Produce generated from the algae tubes for use within research laboratories and food supplements.

Key Facts:

Sustainable Buildings
Saudi Arabia

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