Masdar City Faces New Setbacks

zero carbon, zero emissions, Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, UAEThe Masdar buildings that have been realized are impressive, but they comprise a shadow of the original, grandiose plans

Everybody loves to criticize the Abu Dhabi state-owned energy company Masdar, which has been forced to eat humble pie on numerous occasions for failing to realize the grandiose zero carbon, zero emissions city promised to the world when oil money was pumping in. Their small achievements are certainly impressive – see our exclusive Masdar images here – but few of the original specs have been incorporated into the buildings already erected.

As time goes on and mostly financial obstacles continue to emerge, the plans look increasingly less like the original. Bloomberg recently announced that Masdar is now in the process of revising Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill’s design for an energy-positive headquarters in Abu Dhabi. The firm behind Saudi’s ridiculously large tower along the Red Sea is expecting to hear within the month whether or not their design will survive the latest round of economic setbacks.

Coming down from the oil-boom high

Bloomberg reports that Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill proposed a massive headquarters that would have produced 3% more energy than it consumed. At 1.1 million square feet, it would have received the bulk of its energy from enough solar panels to cover four soccer fields.

As you can imagine, such a plan doesn’t come cheap, and Masdar is re-thinking its initial heady excitement.

Gordon Gill told the paper that it is uncertain whether Masdar considers the building to be too big, to expensive, or if the company is worried that they will not be able to find enough tenants to justify such a massive construction project. He admitted that because they had to build their own power facilities, the projected costs for the swanky headquarters were 50% higher than a conventional office building.

A more moderate approach

The new headquarters will be built in stages in accordance with market demand and economic conditions, though Masdar was unwilling to comment on whether it will still be an energy-positive project. (Nothing new there. With all of the criticism – justified or otherwise – leveled at the company, they are notoriously press-weary.)

Phase one of the new plan will be complete by the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Bloomberg, but we don’t recommend that our readers hold on too tightly to that date. Times are unsettled, and it said that god laughs at those who make plans. Just accept that the only constant, where Masdar is concerned, is change.

:: Bloomberg

More on the Masdar Saga:

Exclusive: Masdar City Open House Photos

Re-Assessing Masdar City

What’s Sustainable About Masdar’s Foster & Partners?

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