Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Client: Masdar-Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company
Design: Foster + Partners
Year: design 2007
Abu Dhabi, an oil-rich country in the Middle East, anticipates a future without fossil fuels. To play a role in the future as an supplier of renewable energy, Masdar City, a role model for future cities, was conceived. The age-old typology of an immured city was combined with state of the art energy techniques. The basic principle presupposes that a minimal environmental footprint can be combined with a high level of comfort. This 6 million square meter city can function without cars, by planning every dwelling in a maximum range of two hundred metres from a public transport stop. One could argue that these two hundred metres can be relatively long when public space is unattractive and people have to bridge several height distances. Therefore, to bridge the gap between the residences and the public transport, much attention is given to the quality of public space. The small streets are naturally ventilated, which is a comfortable solution for a desert climate, and water and green space are integrated for a convenient micro climate. Within the immured city, fields of solar cells and wind mill parks are planned which will generate all renewable energy for this new high-tech community. Next to energy plants, there will be plants for bio-fuel and installations for recycling, desalination and composting. These fields and clusters are combined with areas for recreation and relaxation. This is how Abu Dhabi combines purpose and pleasure in the first CO2- and waste-neutral city. The irony of it all is that this city is built with money earned by selling oil.