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Breakwater Beacon Saudi Arabia : KAUST Thuwal Point

Building Development in Jeddah, Middle East – design by UAP

23 Sep 2009

Breakwater Beacon Thuwal Point


The King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (KAUST) Inauguration takes place on 23 September 2009.

Leading international design studio Urban Art Projects (UAP) has completed the 60 metre high ‘Breakwater Beacon’, the centre piece of a new US$7 billion world-class research institution for KAUST located at Thuwal Point, overlooking the Safaa Harbor and the Red Sea, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Breakwater Beacon: KAUST Thuwal Point

Breakwater Beacon: KAUST Thuwal Point KSA
images : UAP

The inauguration of KAUST takes place on 23 September 2009 when the Breakwater Beacon will be unveiled as part of a two day celebration. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will host more than 3,000 guests, including prominent Saudis, foreign leaders, and Nobel laureates.

Breakwater Beacon was designed by Daniel Tobin, Principal of Australian-based UAP, who create site-specific art and design commissions for architectural and landscape environments, including the arts programme for the Shanghai World Expo 2010. The striking structure creates a contemporary interpretation of a lighthouse and will act as a symbol for the university.

Led by Daniel Tobin, UAP’s design draws 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, Breakwater Beacon’s 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 patterned skin of the atrium creating a dappled shaded effect-is designed for communal gatherings and includes an amphitheatre and reflection pond.

Breakwater Beacon is part of a major international arts programme at KAUST to celebrate its international platform of collaboration and exchange. Curated by UAP, the primary focus of the programme is to interpret and present interdisciplinary art and design that stimulates creativity and interaction, drawing inspiration from KAUST’s unique geography, science and technology-based research, language, text, regional histories and traditions.

The programme includes work by the renowned Swedish artist Carsten Höller, who is known for his Unilever installation at the Tate Modern.


The new US$7 billion a purpose-built university and community designed by HOK is being developed on the eastern shore of the Red Sea near Thumul, approximately 80km north of Jeddah and approximately an hour north of Mecca in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Encompassing a total area of more than 36M sq.m., the University campus occupies about 16M sq.m on land, and the remaining area is a vibrant offshore ecosystem that will be a sanctuary and part of the new University’s research areas of interest.

Breakwater Beacon Design Team

Client: Aramco International
Design: UAP Design Studio – Daniel Tobin with Jamie Perrow
Architect: Fairweather Proberts – Liam Proberts, Alex Eckersley
Engineer: Robert Bird Group – Ross McDonald, Lance Barton
Lighting: Norman Disney Young

A live webcam of the proceedings can be seen at


Urban Art Projects is a specialist design consultancy creating site-specific art and design commissions for architectural and landscape environments.

The firm ensures that art and design outcomes align with a project’s aesthetic and the client vision. It collaborates with project teams in master-planning, art strategy, artist appointment, design, construction, installation and project management to ensure the creative intent of an installation is preserved and delivered on time and to budget.

UAP offers a unique turn-key approach to commissioning large scale artwork and creative design solutions, providing low risk solutions for clients.

Shanghai World Expo 2010

Urban Art Projects was selected from over 100 international tenders to design major sculptures for the eight main entrance areas of Shanghai World Expo 2010. Led by Matthew Tobin and Jamie Perrow, UAP’s in house design team has developed exuberant, inspiring and often playful concepts for these semi-permanent artworks.

Inflatable Chinese opera figures, fire cracker light displays and giant toy inspired sculptures are just some of the artworks that will attract and delight the expected 70 million international visitors to the World Expo.

UAP is also responsible for documentation of all sculptures and is overseeing fabrication.

Breakwater Beacon Saudi Arabia images / information received 230909

Location: Safaa Harbor, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

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Comments / photos for the Breakwater Beacon Saudi Arabia Architecture page welcome

Website: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia