2005 (Design Proposal) | Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Solar Facade

This competition entry with Foster + Partners incorporates photovoltaic cells as shading and power generation devices and a water cooling system on stainless steel screens.

The architects proposed three linked residential towers for high specification apartments that each have large external spaces. C | L developed moveable glazed walls that incorporate laminated photo-voltaic cells to shield the interiors from direct sunlight. Because of the very high levels of sunlight in the middle-east acceptable levels of light are easily achieved through the small gaps between cells. This process is analogous to the use of lattice timber screens in the traditional architecture of the region. Different façade options were explored using vertical and horizontal revolving elements to control the amount of transmitted light and to optimise the solar energy gain.

The cells on the southwest façade would produce large amounts of power which would feed back into the building’s lighting and cooling systems. This strategy would provide a sustainable model and indication of a way forward after the oil-era. Where the open spaces face one another, stainless steel mesh screens with water running down them are proposed to cool and moisten the air on the balconies. They also provide privacy and a delicate play of light and shadow with the gentle sound of running water.

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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Lead Design

Carpenter | Lowings


Foster + Partners,
London, UK
(Building Architects)
Batte McArthy,
London, UK
(Environmental Consultants)


2005 (Design Proposal)