A Closer Look: King Abdullah University Partners with LJA Engineering

Sarah Fister Gale

Getting stakeholders aligned on any project is difficult, particularly when there’s a difference of opinion on the right way to proceed. But when the project you are involved in is a fast-tracked national landmark with a budget reported to be US$10 billion, and the key stakeholder is the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, standing up for what you believe takes formidable leadership skills.

Yet that’s exactly what the project team from LJA Engineering did when it encountered pushback on the design for a key aspect of the campus of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), based 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and adjacent to King Abdullah Economic City. The project completed its first phase of construction in September 2009 on schedule, and is currently in the second phase to expand the science and technology research park around the campus.

The project team had a strict schedule to adhere to: approximately three years to complete the design, development and construction of the 124-hectare (306-acre) main academic campus, which includes 16 multiple-story buildings. LJA created the civil engineering design for the main academic campus, phase one of the Research Park, and the Marine and Oceanic Research Center, and provided assistance with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accreditation…

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