BEEAH headquarters: domes like sand dunes
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BEEAH headquarters: domes like sand dunes

Sustainability and technology underscored every phase of the project

Zaha Hadid Architects

BEEAH headquarters: domes like sand dunes
By Editorial Staff -

The low, asymmetrical roof of BEEAH’s new headquarters in the United Arab Emirates was inspired by sand dunes, exposed to the sun’s rays and sculpted by the wind both day and night. In Sharjah, the capital of one of the seven emirates that form the country as well as its cultural capital, Zaha Hadid Architects, the studio led by Zaha Hadid, has designed a pavilion-like structure that perfectly integrates with its setting, an area with very few buildings and where the undulating contours of sand dunes extend for as far as the eye can see.

Achieving both low environmental and visual impact was an objective from the outset through to design and construction. It informed the decision to reproduce the shapes of the dunes, thereby creating a series of interconnected pavilions, a succession of concave and convex spaces, and alternating indoor and outdoor spaces that echo nature.

BEEAH Headquarters, Zaha Hadid Architects ©Hufton + Crow, courtesy of the authors

However, the resulting appearance doesn’t only reflect aesthetic and design goals, but also, and in particular, a philosophy of genuine sustainability and of respecting the environment. So, while the “dunes” are interconnected, they’re oriented in such a way as to capitalize on the site’s natural resources – natural ventilation and clean solar energy, in particular. The succession of concave and convex shapes was the product of an analysis of wind direction. Similar reasoning went into how the interiors were organized, with the layout based on taking advantage of daylight as much as possible. Although windows that fully face the sun have been kept to a minimum, they do play a fundamental role in connecting the interior and exterior, and bringing the presence of nature into the building.

A combination of orientation, layout, and the integration of new technologies resulted in the BEEAH headquarters earning LEED Platinum certification and starting life as a zero-emission building. From this perspective, it can be taken as a construction and planning model for future buildings and, on a larger scale, the starting point for designing smart, sustainable cities.

 

The impact of sustainability principles

BEEAH Headquarters, Zaha Hadid Architects ©Hufton + Crow, courtesy of the authors

The influence of low environmental impact, technologies for helping both humans and nature, and sustainability on the design of BEEAH’s new headquarters reflects the values of this company, committed to improving quality of life in the Middle East through intelligent, hi-tech solutions.

The structure revolves around a kind of central courtyard, an oasis integrated into the building’s system of natural ventilation. A similar approach to ventilation can be seen in the entrance. Visitors and staff enter a 49-foot (15 m) high dome, which, through its position and shape, supports natural ventilation and the entry of natural light, making it part of the larger passive solar energy system.

The two largest dunes house offices and face the central courtyard. A lot of this office space is open plan, but there are also smart meeting rooms, immersive rooms for visitors, and an auditorium. With functions controlled by remote control units and apps, the project has Industry 4.0 functionality built in. The control systems, for example, make it possible to adjust lighting and temperatures according to how many people are present in a particular space at once and according to the time of day. The offices are also set up for hybrid-remote work, while the water treatment and filtering systems are aimed at minimizing consumption.

The same principles are reflected in the choice of materials, which are mainly locally sourced. The use of fiberglass-reinforced panels, for example, has produced excellent climatic comfort throughout.

BEEAH Headquarters, Zaha Hadid Architects ©Hufton + Crow, courtesy of the authors

Zaha Hadid Architects won the 2021 The Plan Award in the Housing (completed) category with its One Thousand Museum project. Read more here.

 

 

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Credits

Location: Sharjah, UAE
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Completion: 2022
Client: BEEAH Group
Size: 9.000 m2
Site area: 93.000 m2
Photorgraphy by Hufton + Crow, courtesy of the authors

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