These Shape-Shifting Sunshades React To Sunlight

Image credits: Daniel Erne
Image credits: Daniel Erne

Whilst the design may be eye-catching, these twin office buildings in Abu Dhabi are actually fitted with stunning shape-shifting sunshades. Built in 2012 the original construction of the 145 metre towers was almost entirely glass which generated a large amount of heat. The sunscreen was commissioned in order to reduce the glare of the sunlight as well as to ensure privacy. An additional side benefit has been that the air-conditioning bill has been cut in half.

Shape-Shifting Sunshades

The ornate sunscreen created by Aedas Architects consists of a geometric “skin” which moves in order to provide respite from the intense heat of the sun. The clever design features computer controlled sunscreens which can move horizontally as well as opening and closing.

Shape-Shifting Sunshades geometric-sun-shades-al-bahar-towers-abu-dhabi-14
Image credits: Ben Job
sun shades
Image credits: Christian Richters

Inspired by the masharabiya, the design has managed to unite both the ancient and modern worlds. Apart from any practical considerations, the sunscreen has also enhanced the aesthetic appearance of the office buildings

Dating back to the Middle Ages the masharabiya were projecting windows which were protected by a wooden latticework. They often featured a stained glass lining and were most popular on public buildings such as palaces, schools and government buildings.

The Arabic words, “mashrabiya” can be roughly translated as a “place of to cool water”. The open lattice design enabled a constant flow of air into the buildings whilst protecting them from intense sunlight.

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