1,600 people in 24 cities living 4 values for 1 goal:
To use design to help our clients succeed.

We create exceptional environments that meet our clients' most complex design challenges.

We inspire people through our work by expressing timeless cultural, organizational and personal values.

We connect people and place with ideas that come from many minds and imaginations.

We care about serving our clients, enriching lives, improving communities and protecting our natural environment through design.

We are a global architecture, design, engineering and planning firm.

60+ Years of Design + Innovation

A New Model for Sustainability in the Middle East

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

“The [Lab of the Year] judges were impressed with KAUST on multiple fronts. The total flexibility, high hat areas for research, ability to attract world-class talent, LEED Platinum status, livability, and sustainability all contributed to its selection as a winner.”

R&D Magazine

Designed and built in just 30 months, this world-class research university campus defines a new sustainable paradigm while supporting progressive energy and environmental research.

HOK’s mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural engineers led multiple design teams following parallel paths to advance and support 5.5-million square feet of high-performance space across 27 buildings.

The campus was Saudi Arabia’s first LEED certified project and, at the time of its certification, the world’s largest LEED Platinum project. Several innovative engineering strategies contribute to exceptional performance in the areas of energy and water reduction.  

Flexibility and reliability guided the design of MEP engineering systems, which are configured for easy adaptability with minimal effort while remaining operational under various failure modes.

The team integrated numerous passive design solutions combined with efficient MEP systems, chilled beams, heat-recovery wheels, underfloor ventilation, smart lighting controls, variable frequency drives and low-loss duct and pipe design.

Vast arrays of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal panels cover the innovative roof system, which spans across buildings to block the sun on facades while sheltering outdoor pedestrian spaces.

Highly interactive direct digital controls optimize system operation while continuously monitoring and reporting system performance, energy harvested, energy recovered and energy used to ensure long-term energy management. 

The structural design included drilling 42,000 stone columns into the ground to ensure the soil could support the weight of the buildings. On the western end of the lab building, concrete trusses create a 55-foot cantilever. Several other buildings incorporate shear walls for smaller cantilevers.


LEED-NC Platinum


5.5 million sq. ft. / 511,000 sq. m.
27 buildings


Construction Administration
Facility Programming
Interior Design
Laboratory Planning
Landscape Architecture
Lighting Design
Master Planning
Structural Engineering


AIA/ALA – Library Building Award

AIA Chicago – Design Excellence Awards – SustainABILITY Leadership Award – Citation of Merit

AIA Committee on the Environment – Top 10 Green Projects

AIA Houston – Design Award (KAUST Library)

AIA St. Louis – Honor Award

AIA San Francisco – Energy + Sustainability Merit Award (KAUST Library)

AIA San Francisco – Excellence in Architecture Merit Award (KAUST Library)

ASLA Georgia – Honor Award

Association of University Research Parks – Emerging Research and Science Park

The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design – International Architectural Award

Congress for the New Urbanism – Charter Award

European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies – Green GOOD DESIGN Award

IIDA Northern California – IIDA Award (KAUST Library)

Interiors & Sources – Top 10 LEED Projects (#1 Ranking)

R&D Magazine – Lab of the Year

Sustain Magazine – International Project of the Year


Amount of wastewater that is reused


Reduction in water use


Annual energy cost savings


Amount of on-site renewable energy


Amount of glazing that is shaded year-round


December 2011
“Interview: HOK’s Bill Odell on the Design of Saudi Arabia’s KAUST University, the World’s Largest LEED Platinum Project”

9 June 2011
“Rising from the Desert: 2011 Lab of the Year”
R&D Magazine

November 2010
Architectural Record

1 October 2010
“King Abdullah University of Science and Technology”
Interiors & Sources

July 2010
“King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)”

4 January 2010
“KAUST: a Case Study in Integrated Delivery and BIM”

30 September 2009
“King Abdullah University of Science and Technology / HOK”