In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has always maintained a reputation as the center of excess and oil money gone awry, while Abu Dhabi's Masdar City has emerged as the UAE's sustainable core. But Dubai's developers might be signaling a shift away from energy-gulping air-conditioned beaches and desert-bound ski resorts. Graft Lab is offering up a multi-use complex that could end up scoring a LEED Gold rating. Don't worry Dubai lovers. It's still gaudy.
The Vertical Village, which contains residential, hotel, and entertainment facilities, features a massive solar array on its southern side that automatically positions itself for maximum sun exposure. A solar roof provides heated water, and self-shading slabs on the north end of the site eliminate direct sun exposure into the building, cutting down on air-conditioning costs.
And of course, the Vertical Village's interlocking slabs are eye-catching, as per Dubai standards. The flailing stock markets in the U.S. and abroad and increasing unemployment may thwart the city's rapid development, but energy-efficient projects like the Vertical Village can at least secure a future for some of Dubai's ambitious architectural designs.