Location: Abu Dhabi
For this 90,000 ton District Cooling Plant Room located on Abu Dhabi's Sorouh Island master plan, the client authorized a novel approach to the architectural language adopted on this highly visible industrial installation.
Located opposite two high-rise residential towers within the CRJA a landscaped master plan, the plant room's use of a glazed wall wrapping the ground floor is both an invitation for exploration but also a demonstration of how light potentially light industrial installations can be. Using a dotted ceramic frit of varying densities, the chillers and primary pumps located immediately adjacent to the envelope will be revealed.
With a flexible structural concept that takes the process plant installations into consideration, the next layer in the design was to treat the screening of the upper levels with a perforated aluminium screen / metallic undulating mesh. The resulting impression is one of transformation, as viewers will gradually experience the fluidity of the structure as they approach and distance themselves from the plant room; from static to organic. Using cold-cathode light pins and metal halide floodlights in synchronization with a dynamic lighting scheme, the night-time effect will be gently "glowing" and "alive".
The incursion of industrial and public utility projects into our cities raises the question, as architects and planners, of how to make them look integrated and acceptable within the urban and social fabric. In the past, these projects were all too often treated as functional necessities with aesthetic considerations pre-empted by arguments of site and economics and were ultimately regarded as symbols of industrial infringements on the lower classes of society.
Today, worldwide industrial and public utility projects have gradually adopted more sophisticated architectural languages. Though marginal in their typologies, they have become the subject of frequent publications that have validated them as responsible elements in our urban welfare.