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The Spiritual Center of the KAPSARC Residential Community

King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center
Community Masjid

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

“The design of this mosque does everything well. It finds a way to not succumb to regurgitated conventionality, but instead finds artistic ways of capturing tradition and expressing the time and place in which it is built. Superbly crafted and designed, the building itself is a cause for conversation. The light emanating from the building is inspirational. Perhaps it will start new traditions.”

Jury Comments, 2014 Religious Art & Architecture Awards

The community masjid, or mosque, is the spiritual center of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center’s residential development.

This residential community supports KAPSARC’s international staff and their families.

A series of outdoor courtyards provide a formal progression toward the mosque, located in the middle of the site’s central green space. The courtyards have an axial alignment toward Mecca and the Kaaba.

Surrounded by a reflective pool, the mosque is elevated three feet above the adjacent outdoor spaces. This pool glows at night, creating the illusion that the building is levitating over water. Worshipers enter the mosque by climbing floating stone steps and traversing a glass bridge over the reflective pool.

As a monolithic core perforated with a pattern of glowing windows and surrounded by glass, the mosque’s appearance changes from day to night. During the day, the shadows from the complex mullion patterns travel over the inner stone facade, creating a dynamic experience that varies by season. At night, the glass box acts like a lantern washed with light at the bottom and punctuated with points of light near the top.

The interior is an interplay of shade and shadows, viewed through the lens and technological interpretation of a traditional mashrabiya screen wall. Wrapping all four walls and the ceiling, the screen glows with the natural light of the punched windows and skylights, creating a bright, modern interior. Layers of scale overlap on the mashrabiya walls, while the ceiling has a pure, traditional pattern.

Located adjacent to the mosque, the 115-foot-tall minaret tower mirrors the patterns of the mosque’s facade and facilitates the daily calls to prayer.


10,225 sq. ft. / 950 sq. m.


Facility Programming
Graphic Design
Interior Design
Landscape Architecture
Master Planning


AIA Washington, DC – Excellence in Architecture

The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies – The International Architecture Award

Iconic World – Iconic Awards, Best of the Best – Public Architecture

Faith & Form magazine and The Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA) – Honor Award - Religious Architecture: New Facilities


12 October 2016
“KAPSARC Master Plan and Community Mosque Project Win Awards”
HOK News

31 March 2015
“KAPSARC Mosque / HOK” 
Arch Daily

1 March 2015
“Saudi Arabian Spiritual Inspiration” 
Middle East Architect

19 January 2015
“HOK Clads Community Mosque in Saudi Arabia With Perforated Patterning”
Design Boom 

7 January 2015
“12 Beautiful Modern Worship Spaces”
Fast Company

4 January 2015
“Faith & Form’s 2014 Religious Art & Architecture Award Rewards Diversity in Religious Design”
Arch Daily

28 December 2014
“These Religious Architecture Award Winners Evoke the Sacred in Unconventional Ways”
Huffington Post

22 December 2014
“2014 International Awards Program for Religious Art & Architecture”
Faith & Form 

1 December 2014
“Project of the Month” 

1 February 2014
“Inauguration of the King Abdullah Masjid”

1 March 2013
“Setting a Benchmark in Sustainable Residential Design”