Zaha Hadid's solar-powered sand dune rises out of the desert
Taking its place exceptionally well in the rugged desert landscape, the Zaha Hadid-designed Beeah Headquarters is now finally complete. The building combines its eye-catching looks with significant sustainable design features to help keep its occupants comfortable and its energy use low.
Located in the Al Sajaa desert, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Beeah Headquarters (aka Bee'ah Headquarters) is classic Hadid and was designed by the late starchitect herself, though realized by partner and current Zaha Hadid Architects boss Patrik Schumacher. Its futuristic form and confident concrete curves are informed by the rolling sand dunes that surround it and also have some practical use too, helping to take the sting out of the local climate.
"The headquarters' design responds to its environment as a series of interconnecting 'dunes' orientated and shaped to optimize local climatic conditions," explained the firm. "Embedded within its context of Sharjah's Al Sajaa desert, the design echoes the surrounding landscape shaped by prevailing winds into concave sand dunes and ridges that become convex when they intersect.
"Ensuring all internal spaces are provided with ample daylight and views while limiting the quantity of glazing exposed to the harsh sun, the headquarters' two primary 'dunes' house the public and management departments together with the administrative zone that interconnect via a central courtyard, defining an oasis within the building which is integral to its natural ventilation strategy."
Visitors enter the 9,000-sq-m (~97,000-sq-ft) building by passing through a large airy dome. Much of the interior is taken up by open-plan office space, plus there's the central courtyard, meeting rooms, an immersive visitor center, and an auditorium. ZHA refers to the building as an "office of the future" and it features a smart management system that adjusts lighting and temperature depending on occupancy and time of day, plus remote and hybrid collaboration tools, contactless pathways and a virtual concierge.
Though you could reasonably question whether a big concrete building constructed out in the desert is truly sustainable in any meaningful sense, the project does have significant energy efficient additions and is slated to receive the LEED Platinum green building standard.
As well as the already mentioned focus on natural ventilation and light, the building was partly built using recycled materials and its glass reinforced fiber exterior is designed to reduce solar gain. Energy efficient cooling helps regulate interior temperatures and an on-site water treatment system filters waste water, while all required power comes from a large solar farm nearby that's hooked up to Tesla battery packs.
Source: Zaha Hadid Architects