Dubai's reign as a "symbol of crazed civic ambition" is over, but the United Arab Emirates is still planning to play host to Masdar City, the first large-scale carbon-neutral development in the world. Now the UAE has selected Sydney, Australia-based LAVA Architects to design the city center for the Abu Dhabi-based sustainable development.
The winning design features a five-star hotel, central plaza, convention center, entertainment complex, and shops. It sounds like typical showy Dubai fare, but LAVA offsets the scale of its city center with a number of sustainable tweaks, such as solar "umbrellas" in the plaza, adaptive building facades that adjust to capture sunlight, wall surfaces that adapt to changing temperatures, rooftop gardens, and underground water storage.
When complete, Masdar City will house 40,000 residents, 50,000 commuters, and over 1,500 companies. The companies involved, including materials companies, solar technology firms, fashion labels, will all be sustainability-minded. Masdar will also host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
No word from LAVA on how long the city center will take to build—all of Masdar City is scheduled to take eight years to complete—but judging from the pictures it will be quite a few years before the center is finished.