The Al-Bahar Tower, Abu Dhabi
A quick glimpse at the upcoming weather for Abu Dhabi will show a week of
intense sunshine, temperatures steadily above 100 degrees Fahrenheit with 0%
chance of rain. In such extreme weather conditions, even architects listing
environmental design as their top priority are up against a tough battle. Never
mind that the sand can compromise the structural integrity of the building, the
intense heat and glare can render a comfortable indoor environment relatively
impossible if not properly addressed. For Abu Dhabi’s newest pair of towers,
Aedas Architects have designed a responsive facade which takes cultural cues
from the “mashrabiya”, a traditional Islamic lattice shading device.
Completed in June 2012, the 145 meter towers’ Masharabiya shading system was
developed by the computational design team at Aedas. Using a parametric
description for the geometry of the actuated facade panels, the team was able to
simulate their operation in response to sun exposure and changing incidence
angles during the different days of the year.
The screen opperates as a curtain wall, sitting two meters outside the
buildings’ exterior on an independent frame. Each triangle is coated with
fiberglass and programmed to respond to the movement of the sun as a way to
reduce solar gain and glare. In the evening, all the screens will close.
“At night they will all fold, so they will all close, so you’ll see more of the
facade. As the sun rises in the morning in the east, the mashrabiya along the
east of the building will all begin to close and as the sun moves round the
building, then that whole vertical strip of mashrabiya will move with the sun,”
said Peter Oborn, the deputy chairman of Aedas.