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Foster sees Masdar progress on the horizon

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A senior partner at Foster + Partners has spoken of the ‘positive’ mood on the ground breaking carbon-free Masdar City project in Abu Dhabi

Gerard Evenden told AJ that fresh phases were expected soon on the 6 million m², £14 billion project designed to showcase and develop advanced sustainability technologies.

The London-headquartered practice created the masterplan for Masdar City, and designed the Masdar Institute (pictured) as well as the scheme’s first office building.

Evenden said: ‘As the first buildings to be completed in the city, [these] will help to set the tone and environmental standards for the rest of the development.

‘The city is still progressing – we expect new phases to be launched fairly soon.’

The construction sector in Abu Dhabi has been subject to some major ups and downs in recent years. A raft of ambitious projects was announced, with several grinding to a halt before the announcement of a renewed investment drive earlier this year.

But Evenden insisted morale had remained high on Masdar City throughout.

‘We have always had a strong relationship with the client and are proud of what we have been able to achieve together so far,’ he said. ‘Masdar is the first attempt to create a sustainable city in the world where a significant portion has been built.

‘Perhaps the most satisfying aspect for the team has been making this leap from theory to practice.’

He said Foster + Partners had taken many lessons from the project.

‘We have learnt a great deal, not least deepening our understanding of the ancient building and planning traditions that inspired its compact form – this process continues through post-occupancy studies.

‘It certainly has relevance beyond Abu Dhabi. From the outset, Masdar City was envisioned as a test-bed, or live laboratory.

‘Some of the pilot projects underway there, such as exploring alternative forms of transport, cooling devices and new potential sources of power, will open up new possibilities for architects designing the sustainable buildings of the future.’

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