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Masdar Headquarters

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Masdar Headquarters was designed as the world’s first mixed-use, positive-energy building, using sustainable design strategies and systems to produce more energy than it consumes. The project was designed to be the centerpiece of Masdar City, a zero-waste, carbon-neutral development outside Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The seven-story, 134,662 square-meter structure (which includes landscaped areas) will accommodate commercial, retail and cultural uses. The building’s form, sculpted in response to extensive environmental analysis, adapts the ancient science and aesthetics of Arabic wind towers, screens and other vernacular architecture, which emphasize natural ventilation, sun shading, high thermal mass, courtyards and vegetation.

Masdar HQ’s signature architectural feature is a collection of eleven wind cones which provide natural ventilation and cooling (drawing warm air up to roof level, where wind moves it away) and form oasis-like interior courtyards and/or flexible spaces, each with its own theme, at ground level. The cones also provide soft daylighting for the building’s interiors.

Other key sustainability design features, systems and strategies include a vast roof canopy, which provides natural shading and incorporates one of the world’s largest photovoltaic and solar-panel arrays, which will simultaneously harvest solar energy while solar thermal collectors provide solar cooling. The roof’s undulating understructure facilitates the roof pier’s structural performance.

High-thermal-mass exterior glass cladding provides solar heat blocking while remaining transparent for views. Thermal technology in the project also includes earth ducts which reduce temperature of outside air and provide underground pedestrian passages that connect public garden space with the proposed mass transit system. And a lush sky garden on roof level creates a microclimate that includes water features and restful community spaces landscaped with indigenous vegetation.

Masdar HQ was designed as the world’s greenest mixed-use building, yielding zero carbon emissions and zero waste (both liquid and solid) and a sustainable measure beyond LEED platinum. It was designed to consume 70 percent less water than typical mixed-use buildings of the same size, and be the lowest energy consumer per square meter for a modern Class A office building in a hot/humid climate.

It was also designed to be the first building in history to generate power for its own assembly via one of the world’s largest arrays of photovoltaics on its roof canopy, providing shade for workers during construction of the structure’s lower levels.

spring/summer 11  | One
(Re)Conceiving Cities
Whether building a city from scratch in Abu Dhabi or retrofitting the Chicago Loop, architect Adrian Smith says 21st-century cities need to be clean, grean, and user-friendly... MORE

28 apr 11  | Nissan Technology Magazine
5 Guests - 2025, the future of mobility and our cities
Predicting what cities will be like 25 years from now, and what they should be like at that time, are, of course, two different tasks... MORE

spring 11  | Men's Book Chicago
Mr. Positive
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture unveils the world's first large-scale energy-positive building... MORE

25 sep 2010 | The New York Times
Planning a Sustainable City in the Desert
Promoters of Masdar, a city under construction near Aub Dhabi, say that it will be the world's first carbon-neutral city... MORE

23 sep 2010 | Autodesk
Masdar Headquarters Project
Multidisciplinary project team led by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill designs world's first large-scale positive-energy building with help from Autodesk BIM solutions... MORE

sep 10 | AS+GG Press Release
Masdar Headquarters Wins 2010 Arabian Property Award
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture's Masdar Headquarters is the winner of a 2010 Arabian Property Award for Architecture... MORE

25 may 10 | The National
Masdar showcased at a Smithsonian Institution's museum
Masdar Headquarters, the seven-story centrepiece of Masdar City, is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum as part of the 2010 National Design Triennial, which runs until January 9 next year... MORE

may 10 | AS+GG Press Release
AS+GG's Masdar Headquarters Featured in the 2010 National Design Triennial at The Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
Masdar Headquarters, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, is featured in the 2010 National Design Triennial, opening Friday, May 14... MORE

9 dec 09 | Engineering News-Record
Design Team Held to Competition Promises
Masdar Initiative reconvened competition jury halfway through design of its sustainable headquarters in Abu Dhabi to keep on positive-energy track... MORE

20 oct 09 | The New York Times
New agency to lead global energy push
The International Renewable Energy Agency, set up this year to lead a global crusade for renewable energy development and sharing of technology between the developed and developing worlds, has come a long way in a short time... MORE

aug 09 | Architecture and Urbanism
Relationship between design and construction
Masdar Headquarters will be the world's first positive-energy building, using sustainable design strategies and systems to produce more energy than it consumes... MORE

30 jun 09 | The National
UAE to house Irena headquarters
Abu Dhabi triumphed yesterday in its hard-fought bid to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena)... MORE

26 mar 09 | The Chicago Reader
Best of Chicago 2009 art & architecture
We no longer butcher many hogs or make much steel, but Chicago can still turn out talented architects—and Gordon Gill is one to keep an eye on... MORE

dec 08 | Fortune
A green city blooms in the desert
Abu Dhabi, which reckons the world will wean itself from fossil fuels, is building a city that runs on solar power, recycles all waste, and bans cars... MORE

dec 08 | Architect
The comeback kid
Adrian Smith didn't want to retire. Turns out his clients didn't want him to, either... MORE

dec 08 | Architectural Record
Model Behavior: Anticipating Great Design
Cutting-edge projects throughout the Middle East rely on a variety of simulation programs to inform design and predict building performance... MORE

nov/dec 08 | Green Source
Urban Harvest
Western Designers are changing the face of Asia with city-scale green developments... MORE

11 nov 08 | Globe and Mail
A building with an energy all its own
New design frontier aims to make structures more than zero users of enrgy but power plants in their own right... MORE

nov 08 | identity
Green Giants
Although none denies the need to make buildings eco-friendly, the main concern was for the quality of life... MORE

oct 08 | Metropolis
Innovation from the innovators
Metropolis asked some of the world’s most forward-thinking architectural and engineering firms to name their newest green products and systems... MORE

18 oct 08 | Globe and Mail
Market panic? Bring it on
If there is a new imperative in this desperate economy, it is surely to build more intelligent architecture... MORE

24 jul 08 | domain-b
GE focuses on Middle East with $8-billion carbon-neutral city
In a clear sign of the slowing US economy and the growing importance of oil money in today's world, century-old American conglomerate General Electric (GE) has announced an $8-billion joint venture in the Middle East at the same time it is cutting down its operations at home and in other developed countries... MORE

24 jun 08 | Sustainable Design Update
Masdar building brings positive energy
Chicago architecture firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) to design headquarters for Abu Dhabi's Masdar City... MORE

8 jun 08 | Architect
Positive Energy
Abu Dhabi's Masdar City promises to set a standard for sustainable urbanism... MORE

summer 08 | BPM
Chicago architects design the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste and zero car city for $22 billion in Abu Dhabi... MORE

summer 08 | Centerline: Newsletter of the built environment at University of California, Berkeley
Getting to zero: how CBE industry partners are meeting net-zero energy goals
Along a typical commerical strip in san Jose, California, an unassuming office building is gaining notoriety for its ambitious sustainability goals... MORE

7 may 08 | Architectural Record
Smith + Gill tapped for ultra-green Abu Dhabi project
Desert buildings that produce more energy than they consume may no longer be a mirage... MORE

8 apr 08 | Real Estate Forum Magazine
Abu Dhabi sustainable project moves forward
Design work is under way for the headquarters of Masdar, a government initiative aimed at advancing renewable energy resouces... MORE

4 apr 08 | AIArchitect
Beyond Zero: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture's Desert Experiment
Masdar Headquarters will power itself and give power back... MORE

17 mar 08 | Engineering News-Record
Building sector needs reeducation
Tall-building designers say their pursuit of sustainable high-rises is stymied by a dearth of performance metrics to validate their green-building system modeling... MORE

12 mar 08 | Regina Leader Post
Architects building new cities
Once upon a time, I took a vocational aptitude test in high school guidance class... MORE

29 feb 08 | Building Issue 8
The Middle East green building challenge
Now that the ruler of Dubai wants the city to be at the forefront of sustainable design, how will developers respond?... MORE

24 feb 08 | The Chicago Tribune
Sweet new start for architect
Abu Dhabi green project highlights recent success... MORE

22 feb 08 | AS+GG Press Release
Masdar Headquarters to Be Located in World's First "Positive Energy" Mixed-Use Building
Chicago architecture firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture win global competition to design Masdar headquarters in first zero-carbon, zero-waste city... MORE


Structural Engineering
Thornton Tomasetti

MEP Engineering
Environmental Systems Design, Inc.


International Property Awards, Arabian Property Award for Architecture, Mideast Region


Cityscape Architectural Awards, Environmental Award
Middle East Architect Awards, Green Project of the Year
Construction Week Awards, Sustainable Design Award