Al Bahr Towers

Buildings, technology and archicture that work with the sun and environment

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Digesting too many dystopian visions of the future might make you suspect that technology is working against you, but an exhibition at The Werkstatt shows that new technology in architecture and building design can help address the social and environmental impact of the modern world.

Called Staring at the Sun: Desirable effects of Digital Design, the exhibition demonstrates how architects are using digital design technology to address the environmental changes. On this occasion, as the title would suggest, it’s dealing with the sun.

On show is the Cloud Capsule, a new installation by Arthur Mamou-Mani and lead collaborator Andrei Jipa; Al Bahr Towers by AHR for the Adu Dhabit Investment Council Headquarters presented as a scale model and digital simulation Lotus: A Passivley Deployable Canopy by Fang Han MinShan Tsai.

The essence of the show is how buildings can fit into the context of their surroundings.

If that just sounds like blurb, take the Al Bahr Towers. The building features the world’s largest computerised dynamic facade – the outside moves to offer sun or shade depending on the time of day and sun’s intensity. No running around systematically closing and opening blinds for these people.

Back to the blurb:

The façade is inspired by adaptive flowers and the “mashrabiya” – a traditional Arabic lattice screen, traditionally used to achieve privacy while reducing glare and solar gain. The origami-like geometry of the shading screen folds and unfolds in response to the movement of the sun, reducing solar gain by up to 50%, whilst simultaneously improving admission of natural diffused light into the towers and improving visibility.

Not only is it incredibly useful, it’s also beautiful in action. Pop along to see how it works, and other examples.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of talks and seminars, where the public will have the opportunity to discuss with the designers the ideas explored in their work.

The Werkstatt – as the website informs – means workshop in German, and is a show-case for the whole Sto Group of international designer and architects. It is ‘intended to be all about communication and collaboration, a place for encounter and inspiration, a place of creativity’.

Take that, dystopian future!

The exhibition runs to December 14, 2014, Wednesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm. For directions pop over to the Sto Werkstatt site.

Here’s CNN’s take on the Al Bahr Towers







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