The Masdar Institute: Realizing the Vision of Masdar City

Austin Relton
Architect
Foster + Partners, Abu Dhabi

Foster + Partners’ vision for Masdar City combines state-of-the-art technologies with the planning principles of traditional Arab settlements to create a desert community that aims to be carbon-neutral and zero-waste. The 640-hectare project is a key component of the Masdar Initiative, established by the government of Abu Dhabi to advance the development of renewable energy and clean-technology solutions for a life beyond oil. The Masdar Institute is the first part of the wider Masdar City master plan to be realized, and creates an educational focus for the entire program. The Institute embodies the principles and goals of Masdar, to create a prototypical and sustainable city, and is the first building of its kind to be powered entirely by renewable solar energy. The design incorporates a variety of passive and active environmental strategies, and will be used as a test bed for the sustainable technologies that will be explored for implementation in future Masdar City buildings.

This presentation focuses on the design of the institute, illustrating the impact of orientation, form and materiality in improving energy performance. It describes how the design strikes a balance between active controls (which have a financial cost) and more passive controls (such as responsive shading, use of daylight and natural ventilation), showcasing the key design principles and vision for Masdar City.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation