Masdar is a 640 ha new city in the desert of Abu Dhabi masterplanned by Foster + Partners. It is intended to become carbon neutral over time - as its low use of carbon fuel-generated energy amortises the inevitable carbon consumed in constructing it. The first phase is a new university called the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology which has links to world famous institutions such as MIT and Imperial College London. The university will be solely concerned with research into the generation of clean energy, with the aim of placing Abu Dhabi at the forefront of this emerging technology. The project itself incorporates some of the latest thinking in terms of sustainable design.
Alongside the targets for carbon use, the main influence on the structure was an ambitious construction programme.
Work started on site three months after AKT II's appointment. Their design responded to this allowing foundations to be installed before the design of the upper floors was complete and the whole £225 million project to be completed within 18 months of their appointment.
The engineering challenges extended to establishing a grid system which eliminates transfer structures while accommodating vertical programme of car park, PRT movement routes, laboratories, residential and offices.
Other challenges included the sustainable use of materials which resulted in the latest research and development in concrete construction being adopted for the project. AKT II instigated the adoption of a cement replacement product, in the form of pulverised fuel ash and GGBS, which has replaced up to 70% of the cement content of the concrete used in the project.
Client: Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company
Architect: Foster + Partners
MEP Consultant: Piers Heath
Principal Contractor: Al Ahmadiah - Hip Hing JV