LAVA use solar shading umbrellas in Eco City centre
Giant umbrellas, with a design based on the principles of sunflowers, will
provide moveable shade in the day, store heat, then close and release the
heat at night in the plaza of a new eco-city in the United Arab Emirates.
The ‘sunflower umbrellas’ are one aspect of the winning design by the
international practice Laboratory for Visionary Architecture [LAVA] for the
city centre for Masdar in the UAE - the world’s first zero carbon,
zero waste city powered entirely by renewable energy sources.
Masdar is a planned city located 17 kilometres from Abu Dhabi. A
government initiative, the city is being constructed over seven phases and
is due to be completed by 2016.
The design for the city centre, now revealed, includes a plaza, five-star hotel, long stay hotel, a
convention centre and entertainment complex and retail facilities.
LAVA, a firm of just two years standing, won the design in an international competition against several
hundred entries and strong competition from some of the world’s most
high profile architects. Founder Chris Bosse said: "Masdar City is the world’s most prestigious project
focusing on sustainable energy design. It is the city of the future and a
global benchmark for sustainable urban development. We believe in the
Masdar slogan 'One day all cities will be like this'".
The solar powered ‘sunflower’ umbrellas capture the sun’s rays during the
day, fold at night releasing the stored heat, and open again the next day.
They follow the projection of the sun to provide continuous shade during
the day and can be used anywhere in the world including deserts said Bosse.
Masdar City will be a showcase in all things sustainable and some exciting elements include a magnetic public
transport system which includes individual pods that drive you to your
destination using solar power, sustaining the city's car-free policy; Building façades which can be angled to offset or optimise solar
glare; Materials on wall surfaces which respond to changing temperatures and
contain minimal embedded energy; Water features that can be stored underground during the day and at
night trickle or flow strongly, triggered by passersby; Interactive light poles, inspired by the oasis fire, that transform the plaza
into a 3-dimensional interactive media installation; Interactive, heat sensitive technology that activates lighting in response
to pedestrian traffic and mobile phone usage; and Roof gardens that integrate food production, energy generation, water
efficiency and the reuse of organic food waste.
East and west are fused in the plaza design inspired by both the oasis, as
the epicenter of Arabic nomadic life, and the iconic piazza of historical
European cities. The organic forms created by the forces of natural erosion
in geographical landmarks such as great canyons and wadis are the
design inspiration behind the key buildings in the city centre.
After winning stage 1 in January this year, LAVA teamed up with the
Sydney/Dubai based Kann Finch group, engineering firm Arup (with whom
Chris Bosse previously worked on the Watercube in Beijing), Transsolar
(worlds leading energy consultancy), and a team of international experts.