During Abu Dhabi's winter, temperatures drop to around a comfortable 24º C (75º F) in the daytime. In summer, however, they can get close to 50º C (122º F). To combat the sweltering heat, Abu Dhabi's open air market can now close its roof.

The newly-refurbished Abu Dhabi Central Market was designed by Foster + Partners. It is one of two public spaces in Abu Dhabi that have been designed by UK architects, the other being Thomas Heatherwick's Al Fayah public park. Like Al Fayah, the Central Market design seeks to help keep visitors cool when the temperature begins to rise.

The market sits on the site of the original commercial district and is aimed at being a "modern version of the souk [a Middle Eastern open-air market]" and a "reinterpretation of the traditional marketplace." It is a multipurpose development and, in addition to retail, will cater for residential, hospitality and commercial functions.

The market comprises an open-air system of of alleyways, routes and squares, as is the case with traditional markets. During the cooler period of the year, these are able to stay cool naturally. When the summer season comes round, however, it is possible to enclose the market and control the temperature internally.

Roof panels are used to help seal the environment from the searing outdoor heat. These can be slid into place and can be used in conjunction with internal sliding wall panels. In this way, the environment can be shaped and changed depending on how it is most easily kept cool. In addition to the retractable paneling, patterned façades help to shade the interior, whilst still allowing natural light inside.

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