x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Zayed National Museum gets design award for energy-efficiency

The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council has given the Zayed National Museum design a three-pearl rating for sustainability.

A computer-generated image of how the the Zayed National Museum’s front view will look at night when it is opened on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. The design received an environmental award yesterday. Courtesy TDIC
A computer-generated image of how the the Zayed National Museum’s front view will look at night when it is opened on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. The design received an environmental award yesterday. Courtesy TDIC

ABU DHABI // The museum being named after the country’s founding Father, Sheikh Zayed, has been given an award for its energy-efficient design.

On Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council awarded the design for the Zayed National Museum project three out of five “pearls” under its environmental sustainability rating system.

The design chimes with the late President’s commitment to sustainability.

The museum, which is scheduled for completion on Saadiyat Island in 2016, will feature a host of ecologically-friendly building techniques and features.

“The museum’s design not only utilises energy-efficient methods but incorporates them in a unique, understated way that does not distract from its overall design,” said Nathalie Staelens, head of environmental services at project developer Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC).

Space-cooling fans, interior lighting and other features would reduce annual energy consumption by 30 per cent, while water-reducing fixtures and fittings would reduce water use by 28 per cent, she predicted.

The taps in the bathroom would have a reduced flow duration that would cut annual water consumption by 53 per cent.

The core of the building would be located underneath an earth mound, reducing heat from sunlight. Five towers built to resemble feathered wing tips of a falcon would include a natural ventilation and cooling system of underground ducts.

The towers – the tallest of which will rise to 125 metres – will also feature solar panels to heat water.

“Once operational, all of the museum’s water heating will be provided through these solar panels,” Ms Staelens said.

The developer is striving for environmentally sustainable features to be used in the museum’s construction and operations as well, said Ali Al Hammadi, deputy managing director of TDIC.

“This not only reinforces our commitment to the environment, but also reflects the environmental vision and measures set out by our late President Sheikh Zayed, which we continue to implement to this day,” he said.

Steel reinforcements used for the building’s frame would feature 25 per cent recycled material, and at least 20 per cent of the all construction material would be sourced from within 500 kilometres of the project site, TDIC said. The developer also hopes to recycle or salvage at least 70 per cent of waste produced on site.

The museum is also to feature a “timeline garden” for indigenous and adaptive plants to represent coastal, desert, mountain and oasis environments. It would also include education about Sheikh Zayed’s life.

The museum is expected to be built in the Saadiyat Cultural District, after the Louvre Abu Dhabi is finished in 2015, followed by the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2017. These will sit alongside a performing arts centre and maritime museum.

Seven permanent galleries are to be featured at the national museum – Sheikh Zayed: Life and Times, Falconry and Conservation, People and Heritage, Land and Water, History and Society, Science and Learning, and Faith and Islam. Another space would be used for special exhibits.

The building has been designed by British architect Norman Foster, of Foster and Partners, who won the tender in November 2010 in competition against designs from 12 firms from 10 countries.

A May 2010 Abu Dhabi Executive Council order stipulated that all new buildings must earn at least one pearl according to the Estidama Pearl Building Rating System, while all government-funded buildings must earn at least two.

TDIC also is developing the Louvre Abu Dhabi and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

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