April 6, 2009 The winning design from Leeser Architects for this visually stunning five star hotel in Abu Dhabi maximizes the use of natural resources in a spiraling design that makes use of natural light and coastal air along with an exterior clad with polyethylene GROW panels to harness solar and wind power. Poised on the edge of the Persian Gulf, the (aptly named) Helix Hotel will feature a helical floor space which wraps unevenly around a central void. Guests will be able to look up at, and down on, various public areas, including the rooftop deck with a glass-bottomed swimming pool.

There are 208 guest rooms and the hotel will also feature retail, spa and sauna suites. Every guest room has a slightly different view and the spiral design of the building keeps foot traffic flowing nicely. Whilst, the glass-bottomed pool may not appeal to all, (those bathing-suit adjustments could be tricky) the unique building design will no doubt impress many guests. The architects worked with Atelier Ten’s environmental design consultants to ensure that the use of natural resources such as sun, wind and water was incorporated into the hotel’s design. The interior temperature can be maintained by a retractable glass door which will allow cooling sea breezes to enter the building whilst a waterfall which uses ocean water will also help to keep the interior cool and reduce humidity levels.

The team at Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology (SMIT) designed the GROW panels with the environment in mind. The panels are based around a modular brick system with each brick containing five solar leaves with a flexible piezo generator at the stem. A number of bricks are rolled together with PV and conductive ink. The rolls are layered and then stamped to create leaves and connection point. The leaves are available in a variety of colors and opacities and are 100% recyclable. The various opacities of the leaves can be optimized for their heat gain, light transmission and view.

Jude Garvey

Via MetropolisMag and Inhabit.