King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy

Riyadh, Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia

This new city on the outskirts of Riyadh is a visionary response to the challenge of meeting Saudi Arabia’s growing power demands with low-carbon energy generation.

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) will eventually be home to science and research industries that aim to develop and introduce means for a higher standard of living throughout the Kingdom.

A competition was held to design a masterplan for the city, and Buro Happold was engaged to provide technical support to all three teams to be shortlisted. The Gensler team was chosen by the client to take the masterplan forward to a greater level of detail, which was completed in 2014.


The city will be situated on a site comprising two adjacent plots straddling a dramatic 200 metre high escarpment. This complex terrain poses significant challenges, both in terms of engineering and urban planning.

The key challenge for our team was to deliver a framework that would enable the city to become a benchmark for sustainable and smart development, promoting low energy strategies to the region.

Alan Harbinson, Managing Director


To gain a full understanding of the landscape, our engineers worked closely with each team to understand the constraints and opportunities. In doing so we have helped them develop strategies for optimising the land use, taking into consideration key issues such as earthworks, accessibility and hydrology.

Our specialist consultants are leading the formation of a sustainability framework and assessment tool that will act as a basis for the delivery and implementation of the final masterplan. The framework will also act as a catalyst for a new KSA sustainability certification system that promotes a more sustainable way of life.

We worked closely with the design team to create an urban form that will reduce reliance on private cars and promote the increased use of public transport and non-vehicular travel. Our team developed a smart city strategy for the development to ensure that technology was incorporated to support the future success of the city.

We also provided commercial analysis and strategic guidance on the economics of the development, to help our client understand the financial aspects of the proposition procurement strategy for infrastructure and smart systems and identify the optimum investment; phasing and development mix for the new city.

Andy Murdoch, Director


KACARE’s Sustainable City will be the driving force behind research and development in the energy sector, enabling the progression of the sector in the region. By utilising the solutions proposed by the project team, the city it set to become a dynamic and highly sustainable place to live and work.

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