The city of the future feels good

On 04 January 2016

Future thinking can be felt

Just like most people, I had prejudices of Abu Dhabi about kitsch and oil barons, but after a 5-day trip I experienced an environment feeling surprisingly well. I was surprised about how smart people are thinking about development. I would recommend every architect to visit that city. Because also socially it feels nice. People are very friendly and helpful.

Building with eyes on the future

The architecture is designed to withstand the passing of time. It has a kind of timeless modernity. Not just regarding style, but also materials. In the Netherlands in the early years there has often been built with concrete or hard plastics, which turned ugly over time. In Abu Dhabi they make more sustainable choices. Furthermore, a lot of local materials are used like loam and clay. And even though there is plenty of oil, they still go for solar and wind energy.

The city as air conditioning

The new urban project Masdar City has been designed completely sustainable. The first building in the region with a platinum LEED, the highest score on sustainability can be found there: the Siemens main building. A strong piece of designing from the inside: determining the most extreme efficiency first and turning that into a good design, instead of starting with a beautiful exterior. The building has nine atria and is open on the bottom, making cool air circulate without drive. The entire city is designed this way: the streets and buildings generate optimal air flows. Cars are not allowed, meaning the streets can remain small with plenty of shadow. The temperature is a pleasant 18°C, much cooler than the surrounding desert. 

Collaboration is what it's about

Shortage of knowledge is being caught upon by investing in free universities. And they don't hesitate to import expertise from abroad. In the West we sometimes seem to be too reserved or stubborn to outsource something. Here they eagerly use what the world has to offer and I like that. Big international parties are building along and there is a good collaboration in between the different disciplines. They simultaneously look at all parts up front. Stimulating this same cross-fertilisation with colleagues and students we also do at LEOXX, which feels very good to me. Also in the future it's all about working together.

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