Al Bahr Towers
The beautiful Al Bahr Towers are two 25-floors twin office towers which house the Abu Dhabi Investment Council Headquarters.
We first heard about these ‘breathing’ buildings (that’s how I describe them) by watching this interesting CNN Video, long before coming to live in Abu Dhabi, so it is a real joy to be able to witness them in action every day!
The main feature of these cocoon-like towers is the series of ‘honeycomb’ shaped and solar-responsive modular shading screens that cover the South, West and East elevations.
They are smart panels, designed to open when the light is very bright and close in the evenings after sunset, following the movements of the sun around the building.
This helps to minimize glare and improves the building’s environmental performance by reducing the solar energy entering the windows by 20%.
Also, they look really, really cool.
This idea has been inspired by nature, origami art and by the traditional Islamic design of the Mashrabiya.
The Mashrabiya is a type of oriel window often made with carved wood and lattice, and it is present in Arabic architecture since the Middle Age: the result is a stunning combination between innovation and heritage.
The South-facing roofs also incorporate photo-voltaic cells, generating approximately five percent of the total required energy from renewable energy sources. (source) These buildings’ innovative design resulted in a 40% saving in carbon emissions. (source)
These wonderful buildings are visible from many places in the city, and the opening and closing of their panels make them looks like they are alive, a vibrant and gentle couple of giants in the lovely Abu Dhabi skyline.