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Construction on the sustainable headquarters for the City of Masdar in Abu Dubai has recently started and is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City as part of the 2010 National Design Triennial. Masdar Headquarters, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, is on display until January 9th, 2011 along with 134 projects from 44 countries that all promote environmental stewardship, social equity, accessibility and creative capital. The centerpiece of Masdar City is slated for LEED Platinum certification and will be a positive energy, zero waste development.

The seven story mixed-use development will house commercial, retail and recreational spaces as will as serving as the offices for the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, the developer of Masdar City, and the secretariat of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an international organization promoting global use of energy from renewable sources. The structure is characterized by a series of inverted cones, inspired by the ancient science and aesthetics of Arabic wind towers, which serve to draw in natural daylight to the interior as well as expel hot air out of the top. This stack effect sucks cooler air in from the underground floors and pushes out the hot air through vents in the roof.

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Besides the natural ventilation and daylighting, the Masdar HQ features a vast roof canopy made of a semi-transparent material with a high thermal mass. Heat is blocked from reaching inside the building, while natural daylight is allowed to pass. Additionally the roof supports a massive photovoltaic system, which generates power for the building, enough so in fact that the building generates more power than it needs and therefor is energy positive. Lush gardens and landscaping around the building help improve the micro climate. The Headquarters will also be be zero waste for both liquids and solids, and consume 70% less water than a typical mixed use building of the same size.

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Masdar Headquarters is on display as part of the 2010 National Design Triennial at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City from May 14th, 2010 to January 9th 2011. The theme of this year’s show, is Why Design Now?, and explores the work of designers addressing human and environmental problems across many fields from architecture and product design to fashion, graphics, new media and landscape design.

+ Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

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