Masdar City – Abu Dhabi

Actually this eye-popping city is under construction. Probably it will provide the blueprint for a new and sustainable vision of megalopolis.

The cubic final plan of Masdar City.

Image source: by 準建築人手札網站 Forgemind ArchiMedia

A Step Into the Future

Masdar City is a plan developed by Masdar, a future energy company, for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The concept was designed by the British architectural firm Foster and Partners and the city only draws energy from renewable sources (especially solar energy). Masdar City is being built 17 kilometres far from Abu Dhabi, beside Abu Dhabi International Airport. The city will host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency and in general, is designed to be a hub for every clean tech company.

Masdar city
Masdar City

Image source: by 準建築人手札網站 Forgemind ArchiMedia

Architecture and Technology

The construction started in 2006, and the city was envisioned to cover 6 square kilometres with a cost of 18-22 billion American dollars. The first part of Masdar city should have been ready within 2009, but the final completion was pushed back to 2030. This cubic city would be home to 50,000 people and based on sustainability, starting from its pedestrian-friendly . Walls will be decorated with arabesque patterns, to pay homage to the tradition. The temperature will be set thanks to Masdar’s unique construction: a wind tower able to suck air from above and push a cooling breeze through the streets. Moreover, the site is raised above the surrounding land. Buildings are designed toshield from the sun.

arabesque pattern in Masdar city
Typical arabesque pattern in Masdar City.

Image source: by Raphael Iruzun Martins

The Zero-Emission Challenge

While the original plan envisioned a city with full carbon neutrality, it has been declared impossible, despite its tens of thousands of solar panels. In order to reduce the personal energy waste, Masdar was designed without light switches or water taps; lighting and water will be controlled by movement sensors, to cut electricity and water consumption. Around 80% of the water will be recycled for crop irrigation or other purposes. Besides the initial design banned automobiles: travel will be possible thanks to public mass transit and personal rapid transit, or PRT, systems. The absence of combustion vehicles will aid to keep out the hot desert winds, cooling down temperatures.

A Personal Rapid Transit (PRT).
A Personal Rapid Transit (PRT).

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IRENA Headquarters

The International Renewable Energy Agency’s or IRENA new headquarters was symbolically built in Masdar City. This structure exemplifies the core idea of the city, the Estidama methodology based on four pillars of sustainability: social, environmental, economic and cultural. The project has been designed by Woods Bagot and developed thanks to the Masdar Organisation, the company behind Masdar City. The sustainability-driven design was conceived to limit the unnecessary consumption of energy and water, also creating an attractive, liveable and inspiring environment. The surrounding landscape was designed to promote biodiversity: it was inspired by a green “oasis”.

IRENA agency logo
International Renewable Energy Agency Logo

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