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Work starts on Siemens' Masdar HQ by Sheppard Robson

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Construction has started on this 20,000m² headquarters building for Siemens at Masdar City, Abu Dhabi designed by Sheppard Robson

The practice won the competition for the building within the Foster and Partners masterplanned sustainable city earlier this year and on the back of he victory opened a new office in the city - the company’s first overseas outpost (AJ 20.04.2011).

Due to complete late next year (2012), the Siemens scheme is being billed as a ‘new model for sustainable office buildings in the Middle East’ and could be among the first buildings in the UAE to achieve an LEED Platinum environmental rating.

The architect’s view

Parametric facade design

The building envelope was conceived as a box within a box: an inner highly-insulated, airtight facade designed to reduce thermal conductivity, and a lightweight aluminium external shading system which minimises solar gain while maximising daylighting and views from the building. The variation in the form of the shading systems was designed to offer legibility to the architectural expression with each facade tailored to suit its solar orientation. Lightweight aluminium with a low thermal mass and high albedo function further reduces solar radiant heat transfer while maximising indirect daylight penetrating the floors.


Ultra efficient floorplates

The office floorplates, each of 4,500m², have been optimised for efficiency, daylight and flexibility using parametric modelling and achieve over 90% efficiency. They are punctuated by nine atria and served by six perimeter cores.  Completely column-free floorplates incorporate 15m spans by using an innovative post-tensioned flat slab with integrated void-forming technology. This reduces the material used by approximately 60% and provides maximum flexibility for the office space planning. The arrangement enables each of the floors to be subdivided into a combination of various space sizes and therefore creates flexibility for the building to be remodelled over time to accommodate between one and 32 tenants. 

Permeable public plaza 

The office floors float above a fully shaded public plaza which connects the level change between the existing adjacent podium and the more formal square with its Light Rail Transport station. The plaza has been conceived as a terraced extension of the existing public realm and encourages pedestrian movement within the heart of the site. The introverted nature of the shared public realm is further enhanced by a series of external rooms, retail units and two fully glazed office receptions.

Optimised building performance

In addition to maximising efficiency of all aspects of the built form, the integrated engineering systems have been optimised to complement the building’s function and low carbon design. Rigorous energy modelling has ensured that the building performs 44% better than the baseline ASHRAE energy model. The building was designed from the inside out – led by the ambition to achieve efficiency, rather than a predetermined aesthetic, the resulting building is both commercially successful and environmentally sound: a truly sustainable solution.

Client: ADFEC (Masdar)

Construction value: 170m AED

Completion: 2012

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