Masdar Headquarters is a vital part of the vision for Masdar City, the world’s first carbon-neutral, zero-waste city, located in the UAE. We visualized our design proposal for this zone as a sculptural, organic form with a series of habitable canyons carved into it. The canyons are linked to a system of arcades and alleys that connect with the surrounding parts of the city’s matrix.
These canyons form the heart of the complex and act much like they do in the natural environment – as a relief from the heat and a source of life. They are where the activity is focused, particularly the public spaces at the lower levels where the commercial, entertainment and residential environments meet.
Natural canyons are the inspiration for the cooling devices employed in the design: the canyons proposed for Masdar headquarters are the source of cool air used to cool the buildings within and flow on to buildings surrounding the development. The design utilizes passive cooling methods; hot air is drawn through water-cooled heat exchangers and then pushed through the various spaces by natural convection. The water then flows through the canyons via waterfalls and streams, which are not only visually important to the scheme, but also assist in cooling the air at the lower levels.
The canyons reach down to the PRT (light rail) level, from which lush greenery reaches up to the pedestrian level above. Various components and features within the complex are layered – horizontally, vertically and diagonally to encourage visual and physical connections between the different zones. This layering of space provides a vibrant atmosphere for its inhabitants.
A concentration of essential functions and services within Masdar Headquarters reduces the need for occupants and neighbours to travel as frequently in their day to day lives. This, along with the ESD features incorporated into the building fabric significantly reduces the ecological footprint the proposed development.