Burj Al-Taqa: self-sufficient skyscraper design
June 5, 2008
This concept eco-skyscraper from German-based architects Gerber Architekten combines traditional building ventilation techniques with the ability to generate 100% of its energy needs using wind and solar power. And the likely location for the "Burj Al-Taqa" or "Energy Tower” - you guessed it - Dubai.
Designed to meet the particular demands of the Middle East, the concept incorporates traditional techniques of natural ventilation, as used in the historic wind towers found in traditional Arabian architecture. In a region with temperatures often reach 50°C, wind towers are used to transform the hot wind into a cooling breeze inside buildings. The Energy Tower transfers these principles into the modern structure of a 60-story high-rise building, incorporating a double-layered façade that provides enough thermal uplift to eliminate the need for any mechanical ventilation. By these and other measures, the designed predict an reduction of energy 40% compared with conventional high rises.
The supply air will be naturally pre-cooled through air channels buried in the ground or in the sea and to further reduce the temperature, chilled water is fed through a mesh of tubes buried within the concrete ceiling slab.
For its energy needs, the 333 meter tall Energy Tower uses a vertically mounted wind turbine at the top of the building and a rotating solar shield. Covered in semi-transparent photovoltaics, this shield is designed to track the sun so it protects the building occupants and generates energy at the same time. More solar cells would be added to the roof of the Beach Mall at the foot of the building and surplus energy would be stored in hydrogen and hot water tanks.
To top this off, a total of six "hanging gardens" or atria that run the length of the building (five in the outer skin and one in the center) would be used to keep the air clean and rich in oxygen.
Once built, the Energy Tower emission-free will combine office, hotel and residential spaces and was designed with the hope of defining a new generation of sustainable high-rise buildings.
The Energy Tower was designed by Gerber Architekten international GmbH in cooperation with environmental engineers DS-Plan, structural engineers Bollinger + Grohmann Ingenieure, and fire engineers Buro Happold.
Lead architect Eckhard Gerber has a focus on the Middle East and is planning to create similar buildings in Riyadh and Bahrain.