x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Show features Masdar City as 'role model for the world'

The central building in Abu Dhabi's environmentally friendly city is being showcased at one of Manhattan's top design museums.

Animation and rendering of the Masdar headquarters in Abu Dhabi. The centrepiece of Masdar City is on display at the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City.
Animation and rendering of the Masdar headquarters in Abu Dhabi. The centrepiece of Masdar City is on display at the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City.

NEW YORK // The central building in Abu Dhabi's environmentally friendly city is being showcased at one of Manhattan's top design museums, with features ranging from one of the world's largest solar panels to water-free urinals. The Masdar headquarters, the seven-storey 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.

The award-winning design from the Chicago-based firm Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill Architecture, is one of 134 projects from 44 countries selected for an exhibition of ideas that promote green living and social equality. "Being represented in this exhibit at the Smithsonian is a great thing for our firm, for Masdar and for the cause of sustainable architecture around the globe," said Gordon Gill, one of the design firm's founders and partners.

The wall-mounted exhibit features a video presentation that describes Masdar City as a "role model for the world". The community is being built on the outskirts of the capital and will be home to 40,000 people living in the world's first waste-free and carbon-neutral community. Visitors learn how the headquarters will rank among the world's most sustainable buildings when it is completed later this year, thanks to an array of solar panels on its roof.

Drawing inspiration from the wind towers of Dubai's downtown Bastakiya district, the design features 11 towering cones which allow daylight into the building and naturally ventilate the interior by drawing warm air upwards to be carried away by the breeze. Once completed, the building will host executives from the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, developers of Masdar City, and the secretariat of the International Renewable Energy Agency, a new international body that will promote green power in developing countries.

Cara McCarty, a curator for the exhibition, named Why Design Now?, said the museum had chosen projects that demonstrate a "revolution taking place within all areas of design", in which architects are addressing some of the environmental problems facing mankind. "The self-contained, sustainable Masdar City project applies new approaches to architecture and engineering on an urban scale," she said, adding that the "vast experiment" advances the idea of a waste-free, carbon city powered by renewable energy.

jreinl@thenational.ae