3D printed micro-CT visualisation of coral skeleton next to PARTANNA block.

Scientists at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) showcase 3D-printed coral and carbon-negative concrete for coral conservation. Presenting at the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia at the 18th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, the 3D structure display shows current innovations in material and marine conservation science.

KAUST scientists are partnering with the Bahamian start-up, PARTANNA, and exploring innovative carbon-negative concrete alternatives for construction projects aligned with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative.

The PARTANNA carbon-negative material technology showcased at the exhibition works in parallel with other solutions developed at KAUST, including KAUST’s MaritechtureTM, supported by Coral Ecologist, Dr. Sebastian Schmidt-Roach, who was involved in the exhibition development.

KAUST’s MaritechtureTM is a suite of tools for transporting selectively bred corals from the lab to the reef and contributes to rehabilitating and preserving coral reefs.

Professor Carlos Duarte, Executive Director, Global Coral Reef R&D Accelerator Platform and 12th most influential climate scientist in the world, said: “Corals face alarming degradation due to human impacts and climate change. However, we are developing solutions to help protect coral reefs from the changing climate, including carbon-negative concrete alternatives that are less damaging to the environment.”

Rising global temperatures caused by carbon dioxide emissions, and especially the concrete industry which is responsible for 8% of total emissions, play a significant role in coral reef degradation.

Inspired by coral skeleton science, the material developed by PARTANNA aims to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the environmental footprint of construction both on land and underwater.

The exhibition, themed “The Laboratory of the Future,” delves into the dynamic relationship between physical and abstract elements in architecture. A central focus of the exhibition is Earth (IRTH إرث), which serves as a platform for the exploration and experimentation of organic materials, aiming to establish sustainable practices and legacies.

Collaborating with Mr Domingo Lattanzi from KAUST’s Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center (ANPERC), a section of the coral skeleton was enlarged and printed in 3D, showcasing the structural complexity of fine-scale skeleton architecture.

Corals are marine organisms that construct the largest biological structures on Earth – reefs that provide vital coastal protection, support fisheries and tourism, and harbor diverse marine life. The exhibition highlights the urgent need to protect fragile marine ecosystems in the face of climate change.

Integrating sustainable construction practices with conservation of marine ecosystems supports the vision of environmental sustainability and a holistic approach that can help protect natural habitats.

The exhibition is open until 26 November 2023 in Venice.


For Further Information

Sciad Communications, Media Relations 
Amy Thomas or Jasmin Shearan
E: Kaust@sciad.com
T: +44 (0)20 3405 7892

Notes for Editors


Established in 2009, KAUST is a graduate research university devoted to finding solutions for some of the most pressing scientific and technological challenges in the world, as well as Saudi Arabia, in the areas of food and health, water, energy, environment and the digital domain. 

KAUST brings together the best minds from around the world to advance research. More than 120 different nationalities live, work and study on campus. KAUST is also a catalyst for innovation, economic development and social prosperity, with research resulting in novel patents and products, enterprising startups, regional and global initiatives, and collaboration with other academic institutions, industries and government agencies.  

For additional information, visit www.kaust.edu.sa.


The successful G20 Presidency of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia identified coral reefs as key components of the ocean ecosystem at risk, and launched a collaborative Global Coral R&D Accelerator Platform (CORDAP), established by G20 nations in 2021, to drive a global effort to deliver the science and technology required to save tropical and cold-water corals.


  • Committed to scalability. CORDAP-funded projects will deliver efficient coral restoration solutions suitable for large-scale intervention.
  • Focused on R&D only. CORDAP is the only international organization fully dedicated to funding coral conservation and restoration R&D.
  • Transdisciplinary. CORDAP integrates the abilities of the world’s best scientific minds in collaborative projects to develop effective and scalable solutions for coral conservation practitioners.
  • Accessible to everyone. Our open-source platform will allow any organization to advance and use its freely-available technologies. CORDAP is also open to the participation of non-G20 nations and organizations committed to coral conservation and restoration.
  • Promotes participation of middle and low-income countries. We invest in capacity building and develop inclusive programs that involve scientists from middle and low-income countries, those most impacted by coral loss, across all of our programs.


King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is a graduate research university devoted to finding solutions for some of the most pressing scientific and technological challenges in the world as well as Saudi Arabia in the areas of food and health, water, energy, environment and the digital domain. KAUST is a curiosity-driven, interdisciplinary problem-solving environment, with state-of-the-art labs, distinguished faculty and talented students.

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