October 13, 2010

Masdar Institute Microclimate @The RIBA Trust Annual Discourse 2010

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Lord Foster - RIBA Lecture 2010 © Gleeds TV

In his RIBA Trust Annual Discourse address, Lord Norman Foster, founder and chairman of Foster + Partners, spoke on the topic of ‘Performance’ as it relates to sustainable performance as well as past and future performance. As well as discussing his personal passions for automobiles, cycling and cross-country skiing, Lord Foster included an in-depth look at the Masdar project – the World’s first zero carbon, zero waste city in Abu Dhabi, which can attribute its success to extensive research and cutting edge technology.

The sucess of the microclimate strategy developed by PHA Consult and Foster + Partners has been demonstrated on-site by thermal imaging studies undertaken by our friends at Foster + Partners’ in-house team of environmental analysts. This aspect is covered in detail within Part 4 of Lord Foster’s lecture

Using detailed climatic analysis PHA Consult developed the wind tower concept for the Masdar Institute, and worked with Foster + Partners team, structural engineers AKT, specialist wind consltants BMT Fluid Mechanics and RWDI to refine the develop the design of the tower. The wind tower captures cooling high-level winds and employs passive downdraft evaporative [PDEC] cooling principles to reduce heat stress within the pedestrian environment.

The selective distribution of thermal mass on low-level walls, floors and soffits ensures that pedestrians are surrounded by heavyweight materials that retain ‘coolth’ overnight and thereby reduce radiant temperatures during the day. This cooling benefit is safeguarded by shading colonnades from the sun through the arrangement of buildings, street widths, over-sailing PV panels at roof level and fabric screens at ground level. Foster + Partners’ analysis showed that radiant temperatures within MIST areas much as 17°C cooler than downtown Abu Dhabi.

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