Top 10 sustainable developments in the GCC


Discover Construction Week Online’s list of the top 10 sustainable buildings in the Gulf:

1. Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, UAE




In 2008, Masdar City broke ground and started the journey of developing the world’s most sustainable eco-city in the UAE.

A mix of educational and recreational, housing, retail, manufacturing, and office spaces give commuters and residents easy access to everything they need, reducing transport needs.

The city is designed to maximize convenience and reduce environmental impacts.

When complete, 40,000 people will live in Masdar City, with an additional 50,000 commuting every day to work and study.

2. King Abdullah University of Science & Technology, Saudi Arabia


In June 2010, the sustainable architecture of the KAUST campus earned a Platinum rating on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) scale, produced by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The university buildings have been specifically constructed to utilize natural light and ventilation. Also, the buildings support a roof capable of carrying 12,000 sqm of solar thermal and photovoltaic arrays.

High levels of recycled products can be found in the campus construction materials, and 75% of the construction material.

The physical campus and its operations will minimize the environmental footprint through efficient use of water, electricity and other resources, and through materials reuse and recycling.

3. Msheireb Downtown Doha, Qatar


Msheireb Downtown Doha will have one of the highest concentrations of LEED certified sustainable buildings, making it the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project.

With a 32% energy reduction goal, all buildings are targeting LEED Gold certification, with some buildings targeting LEED Platinum.

Buildings are massed to shade one another and light coloured to reduce cooling requirements.

Integration with Doha’s new Metro and a safe and convenient public realm will encourage both cycling and walking.

4. The Sustainable City, Dubai, UAE


Located off Dubai’s Al Qudra Road, nestled between Arabian Ranches and Layan, the 46ha development is billed by Diamond Developers as the GCC’s first ‘fully fledged’ sustainable community.

TSC will be home to 2,700 residents, the majority of whom will be housed across 500 three- and four-bedroom eco-friendly villas.

TSC, scheduled for completion by the end of next year, will boast 10,000 trees, 10MWp of solar production, a green spine and its own farm.

5. Bahrain World Trade Center, Manama, Bahrain

The Bahrain WTC consists of two sail shaped towers designed to funnel wind to three skybridges each holding a 225KW wind turbine, capable of generating 11% to 15% of the towers’ total power consumption.

The turbines operate approximately 50% of the time on an average day.

Built in 2008, it is first skyscraper in the world to integrate wind turbines into its design.

It was designed by Atkins with the goals of using renewable energy sources intertwined with sustainable architecture.

6. Qatar National Convention Center, Doha

With its huge treelike structure, the Qatar National Convention Center is one of the world’s most energy-efficient convention centers built to date.

The LEED certified building was designed by Japanese architects Yamasaki Architects, who based their proposal on the concept of architect Arata Isozaki.

Isozaki’s initial concept was based on the holy Islamic Sidra Tree, which symbolizes the end of the seventh heaven.

The center officially opened on 4 December 2011 in Doha, and offers a 4,000-seat theater space, three auditoriums, 52 flexible meeting rooms and many other spaces for hosting local, regional and international events.

7. Pacific Controls Headquarters Building, Dubai, UAE

The headquarters of Pacific Controls is the first Platinum rated green building in the Middle East and 16th in the world.

The building has already won two international awards one at Boston in June 2007 as the Extreme Office Building award in the world; and the Best Intelligent Building in the World in, Chicago Buildcon 2007.

Located in Dubai Technopark, the building features solar thermal air-conditioning, photovoltaic cells for lighting, water-efficient equipment and captive water treatment plant.

8. Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The new Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) plans to include three hospitals under one roof spread over 300,000m².

SKMC, managed by Cleveland Clinic, is part of the SEHA HealthSystem and owned and operated by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA).

The hospital is aiming for a Two Pearl rating under the Estidama guidelines for sustainable design, which is equivalent to a LEED Gold certification.

The facility is expected to be completed in 2018.

9. King Abdullah Financial District, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

KAFD is being developed under the US Green Building Council’s LEED-rating methodology.

Contractors working on KAFD include some of Saudi Arabia’s largest firm, such as Saudi Binladen Group, El Seif, Nesma, Al-Fanar, Saudi Systra, Cityscape (for landscaping), and Al-Bawani.

The KAFD comprises more than 40 individual buildings including the Capital Market Authority (CMA) tower.

The world’s largest green building development worth $11.6bn, is yet to be assigned a completion date.

10. Siemens Headquarters, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The Siemens Headquarters is the first building in Abu Dhabi to achieve a Leed platinum rating.

The building has around 18,000 sqm of space, with Siemens occupying 12,000 sqm of this. The remaining 6,000 sqm is available as commercial space for rent. This includes around 1,000 sqm of retail and F&B units within a semi-enclosed, multi-level courtyard.

The Masdar City anchor building has won 16 prestigious awards, including the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Awards 2012 in the Offices Category and the International Property Award Winners – Arabia 2012 for Best Office Architecture.

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