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Monday, December 7, 2009

Dubai World pulls the plug while Abu Dhabi's Yas Hotel lights up

The Yas Hotel perhaps the most fantastical project a college architecture professor like Hani Rashid could ever have dreamed of realizing. He and his partner Lisa Anne Couture have designed countless unbuilt projects over the years but like other die hard academics such as Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas, their hard work and never ending endurance has finally paid off. At a cool 30 Billion dollars, the cost to build this hotel cum formula one car racing track and yacht club has made it one of the most extavagant modern structures ever built. The complexities of the abstract forms developed by military aircraft computer programs required expensive geometric engineering where few elements are repetitive and nearly all shapes were customized in fabrication. As much of a spectacle during the day as it is lit up at night - one has to wonder if the imbalances of some of these architectural undertakings might have led to the financial state of Dubai. In a land of indoor ski mountains and skyscrapers 3 times the height of the empire state building why not create a 5000 unit LED night light that can be seen from outer space...not sure if 5000 LED's qualifies for an LEED certification - Ecomanta

Photos by Bjorn Moermann

If you think your neighbor’s holiday lighting spectacle is an exercise in excess, wait till you see the world’s largest LED project, recently completed in Abu Dhabi. Created by Asymptote Architecture with lighting design by Arup, The Yas Hotel is a wrapped with a sparkling shell composed of more than 5,300 diamond-shaped panels bristling with over 5,000 LED fixtures. The curvilinear field of lights is capable of running color-changing light sequences and can even display low-res three-dimensional videos.

Every now and then a project comes along that blows our minds with its incredible display of excess. Case in point: the recently completed Yas Hotel, which consists of two 12-story buildings topped with a massive neon canopy that traverses a Formula-1 race track. The 85,000 square-meter complex includes 500 rooms, although we can’t imagine that all those blinking lights and zipping cars would make for a good night’s sleep.

While we applaud the The Yas Hotel’s use of LEDs and it’s boundary-pushing design, we can’t help but feel that the boundaries being pushed are those of good taste. Although LEDs are one of our favorite sources of energy-efficient light, covering an entire building with them only stands to transform it into a monumental beacon of wasteful excess.

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