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King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center Community Masjid

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

As the spiritual center of the KAPSARC residential development, the masjid, or mosque, is a physical, cultural and metaphorical beacon for the community. An adjacent minaret tower facilitates the daily calls to prayer.

The design creates a serene worship space for KAPSARC’s international staff and their families. As residents approach the mosque, a series of outdoor courtyards with an axial alignment toward Mecca and the Kaaba provide a formal progression toward the site.

The mosque is elevated three feet above the adjacent outdoor spaces and surrounded by a reflective pool that glows at night. Worshipers enter the mosque by climbing floating stone steps and traversing a glass bridge.

Inspired by traditional mashrabiya screens, the masjid’s monolithic core is perforated with a pattern of glowing windows and complex mullion patterns and surrounded by glass. This changes the building’s appearance from day to night and season to season. At night, the light emanating from the glass box draws people inside.

The interior is an interplay of shade and shadows viewed through the lens of the 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 interior.

10,225 sq. ft. / 950 sq. m.
Iconic World – Best of the Best, Public Architecture
Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award
AIA Washington, D.C., Excellence Award
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