Designed by global architectural firm Aedas, Al Bahar Towers feature computer-controlled sun screens on the buildings' exterior that open and close as required to keep out the glaring heat of the sun.
It’s no longer uncommon to see solar and other sustainable energies used to power building heating and cooling systems, but two new 25-story towers in Abu Dhabi take a truly innovative new approach to keeping temperatures down. Designed by global architectural firm Aedas, Al Bahar Towers feature computer-controlled sun screens on the buildings’ exterior that open and close as required to keep out the glaring heat of the sun. Similar in many ways to giant screens made up of countless origami triangles, the sun deterrents on Al Bahar Towers sit two meters out from the buildings’ exterior on a frame that’s much like a traditional “mashrabiya,” or shade-producing lattice common in Middle Eastern architecture. The frame and triangles cover everything but the towers’ north side, and each triangle is essentially an umbrella made of coated fiberglass; all of them are programmed to open when faced with the sun, helping to shade the building’s interior. When the sun moves further along its daily path, the umbrellas no longer in its direct glare close again. At night, the shades are all closed. The project is reportedly due to be completed in the next few months. Owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, Al Bahar Towers are expected to use much less air conditioning as a result of their external screens. And whereas most buildings in the region feature heavily tinted windows — relying largely on artificial interior lighting instead — Al Bahar Towers was able to reduce that necessity considerably, allowing a much better level of natural light inside. Photovoltaic cells on the south-facing roofs of each tower, meanwhile, generate roughly five percent of the buildings’ total required energy. Not surprisingly, the project recently won an award for innovation from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Sustainability and architectural entrepreneurs around the globe: one for inspiration! Spotted by: Hemanth Chandrasekar