Knowledge Stream, 2018

King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture was inspired by the idea of knowledge as a transformative force that drives creativity and social development. The centre is a place where knowledge can be experienced and cooperatively generated. Saudi Aramco, the largest oil production company in the world today, developed the initiative and continues to support its operation.

An interactive, virtual stream of knowledge runs through the culture centre, becoming visible in various places, providing access to information in the form of texts, pictures, and videos. The conceptual starting point for this design element was oil. The discovery of oil on the site in the 1930s led to the founding of Saudi Aramco and marked the beginning of massive economic and social transformation in Saudi Arabia. Knowledge flows through the buildings in an analogous way, broadened and deepened through contributions from its users.

A Welcome Wall presents exhibition and event information to visitors as they enter the complex. The announcements are formed from particles in the knowledge stream that flows along the entire length of the wall.

The information flow continues in the library on architecturally-integrated displays. It guides visitors through the library, presents books, and invites readers to share reviews and tips with other readers. A media wall shows videos about the library and is also used for presentations.

In Keystone, the central building and research hub, the focus is on active exchange and collaborative knowledge creation. The Knowledge Stream flows into a thinking space that features a media table where physical objects placed on the surface can be linked with digital information. The stream invites the testing and application of new forms of knowledge.

The centre’s permanent exhibition, Aramcorama, offers an overview of Saudi Aramco’s history. The Knowledge Stream acts as a timeline, flowing below a backlit gallery stretching over 25 metres. Visitors can independently explore the chronology of the company by touching the Knowledge Stream to activate images, text, and videos.

Media design IT Exhibits and Aramcorama: ART+COM Studios
Meda planning: ART+COM und medienprojekt p2
General contractor: ATELIER BRÜCKNER
Photos: Daniel Stauch and ART+COM Studios
Client: Saudi Aramco