|Al Bahar Towers|
Thursday, 24 January 2013
Al Bahar Towers (Abu Dhabi, 2012)
I was born in a small country adjoining the Mediterranean Sea, where the weather is specially sunny during the year, but warm during summer.
As a facade engineer, we need to improve the environmental performance such as the U-value and solar shading through an efficient design, improving the comfort indoor and reducing the amount of air conditioning spent in summer.
From my point of view, the facade industry will continue to develop new technical solutions, because the industry is aware that there is an important marketplace with this regard.
For instance, the envelope for the Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi, designed by Aedas from London studio in collaborations with the engineering firm Arup, meets my previous statement.
Both 145 meters towers were completed during summer 2012, being erected in three years.
Inspired in the traditional Arabic architectural element Mashrabiya, the perforated lattice screens used in the Arabic houses through the Middle East, the screen for each tower is made by approximately 1,000 triangular fabric panels in a hexagonal pattern that opens or closes in response to the sun radiation. The screen is supported in an independent frame sited two meters outside from the inner skin.
The engineering team programmed every triangle to simulate their operation in response to sun radiation and incident angles during the different days of the year. All the screens are closed during evenings.
From the aesthetic point of view, the appearance of the building is continuously changing, whereas the air-conditioning consumption is reduced, the solar control and the U-value is performed according to the external environmental conditions.
It is deemed as an active facade, modifying their performance in line with the weather conditions, mitigating the air condition load by reducing the U-value.
The magazine Time has named the project as one of the top innovations in 2012.
This technical solution makes the most of a traditional architectural element, at the same time innovating through the use of the technology at our disposal nowadays.
By the way, I have found out that Abu Dhabi citizens use a warm and affectionate tone when naming emblematic buildings, this is the Corn cob.