Dubai’s Wasl Tower – a Case Study for Cultural Sustainability in the Middle East

Holger Hinz
Werner Sobek Group, Stuttgart

wasl Tower, a slender 302-meter-tall mixed-use skyscraper in downtown Dubai, fuses a regional style with cutting-edge concepts for accessibility, sustainability, and user comfort. A comfortable outdoor microclimate is ensured through the combination of outdoor landscape, vegetation, and passive systems. A smart structural concept leads to a highly efficient floorplan. Thanks to an optimized geometry, wind loads are reduced by 20 percent. Consequently, the size of structural components is reduced considerably, leading not only to a slender appearance, but also to substantial savings in building materials. On the façade, a fine lace of inclined ceramic fins not only provides shade, but also reflects daylight deep into the interior.

wasl Tower will be the highest building in the world using ceramic fins. The feature uses a traditional regional construction material, but interprets it in an innovative way, thus creating a link between past, present, and future. Photovoltaic and solar thermal panels produce clean energy. The surrounding landscape is irrigated by use of grey return water. A heat pump further contributes to reducing power consumption and the tower‘s carbon footprint.

The building’s glass panes are highly transparent, but offer an extremely good performance with regard to thermal insulation and user comfort. This not only reduces overall energy consumption, but also leads to higher comfort for the occupants. Passive facade design and lighting control combine to reduce perimeter zone lighting energy by 40 percent. Low emitting materials and CO2-based ventilation control provide a healthy indoor climate. A carefully controlled acoustic environment shelters the interior from both exterior noise intrusion and internally generated noise.

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