Al Fanar (Beacon)
Tracing the coastline of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea stands King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Soaring sixty metres into the sky at the entry point to the harbour, Al Fanar has become a symbol of the University. Daniel Tobin responded to a brief from the client and project architects HOK to create a contemporary interpretation of a lighthouse. The work drew inspiration from ancient Arabic maritime traditions, in-region artwork and architectural detailing, linking to the marine ecology of the Red Sea.
Built in pre-cast concrete blocks, the complex structure is a collection of unique amorphous hexagonal sections stepping up out of the Red Sea into an elliptical spire. The reverential interior space, with the skin of the atrium creating a dappled shaded effect, is designed for communal gatherings.