Designed by UAP Principal, Daniel Tobin, Matthew Tobin and Jamie Perrow, KAUST Breakwater Beacon has been recently revealed – as a part of $7 billion research institution, the honeycomb tower becomes a symbol for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. The magnificent 60-meter high-rise is comprised of amorphous hexagonal sections in the form of an elliptical spire, reaching into the air.
The Tower is located on a new University Campus, as a part of a larger master plan – a new town of 10,000 people, living over 6.5 million sqf along the Red Sea, 80km north of Jeddah. The design process was accelerated with a “Racing the Sun” approach, in which planners from 10 offices across multiple time zones contributed to the plan over one 24-hour period.
Due to its fantastic presence, one could be deceived that the tower is all about the look, but the skyscraper is actually designed as natural cooling tower for communal events and celebrations. The hot air from the foyer is pulled up through the building and cooler breezes are brought in instead, while the skin of the atrium is creating a dappled shaded effect.
International team of architects responded to a brief from the client, which resulted with a contemporary interpretation of a lighthouse. The design guidelines were found in ancient Arabic maritime traditions, traditional artwork and architectural detailing. The Beacon stands at the very entry of the harbor as a university marker. It is built in pre-cast concrete blocks while the complex structure is a set of unique amorphous hexagonal sections in an elliptic spire.