Unique and Beautiful new approach to architectural shading in Abu Dhabi

Date: 05.03.2013

When Ecospecifier Consulting assisted Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council to develop and launch the Estidama 'Pearl' green building rating system, we also assisted in developing the mandatory 1-2 Pearl requirements within the Abu Dhabi Building Code. These created comparatively high levels of mandatary energy  performance and for high rise projects, required external shading of glass on critical facades. The reason for this was we found that even at 9.00am in mid-winter when the external temperature was only 27oC, the skin temperature of a tinted glass building  in Abu Dhabi was 70oC inside surface of the double glazed facade was 35oC even in contact with the air-conditioned air. The case for external shading was very strong (You dont have to think very hard to see the relevance of these temperates for Australian conditions).

When we floated these requirements, we had some idea how the UAE market would respond, but we had no idea that such creative, beautiful, practical and variable designs could flow from these innovation but highly important changes to UAE regulation.

We have reproduced here a recent article from Springwise.com, recently featured in the Vertilux newsletter.

Watch  the amazing video on the Aedas website who were the architects for the project.


While most buildings in the region of Abu Dhabi use tinted windows to mitigate the sun's harsh glare, this often results in an increased use of artificial interior lighting. That's why the newly developed Al Bahar Towers have taken a step further in keeping their buildings cool - by featuring solar-responsive external screens that open and close to let in daylight while reducing solar gain at peak hours.

These innovative window coverings are computer-controlled sunscreens that sit two metres out from the building's exterior, essentially creating an umbrella of coated fibreglass over each window. They will open when facing the sun, and close as the sun moves along its daily course.

The shades will be powered by photovoltaic cells on south-facing roofs, which have the potential to supply 5% of the building's energy needs.

Better yet, the screens are certainly not an eye-sore for the sleek building but rather offer texture and cultural reference to the building's exterior. The screens are positioned like origami triangles jutting from the building's cylindrical frame, resembling the shape of traditional 'mashrabiya', a shading lattice pattern common in Middle Eastern architecture.

Click here to read more about Aedas' new design that's both environmentally and culturally appropriate for the region

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