Dubai explores Sustainability and Climactic Responsibility with Center for Science and Sustainability by Josef Richter
In a culture where being the biggest has recently reigned supreme, Inson Wood, of the design firm, Inson Dubois Wood LLC, has proposed a design for Center for Science and Sustainability. Dubai is not necessarily known for its most sustainable projects having recently opened Ferrari world, and being on the records for the largest indoor ski arena, the world's largest mall with the worlds largest aquarium, and of course the world's tallest building has committed to keep up with its neighbor, Abu Dhabi, by actively exploring ways to create a sustainable future beyond reliability on fossil fuels. Like most Gulf cities Dubai has extreme temperatures, winds and intense sun. Geothermal, Wind Turbine and Solar power are all easily harnessed if the infrastructure becomes further developed. As recently as 50 years ago Dubai was a small fishing village, since then it has developed as a major shipping hub, and also become a booming tourist destination with a significant financial sector. Sustainability has been an issue as neighboring Abu Dhabi has created Madsar City zero carbon city putting pressure on other oil rich countries, including Saudi Arabia, to look to the future when oil and the wealth it creates may become highly diminished. As Dubai has recently been credited with as big an eco footprint as the United States, all eyes are on the small Emirate, to show its level of sophistication in terms of environmental responsibility to the rest of the world. The biggest contribution the Center for Science and Sustainability has to offer is representing a model to the rest of the region of how an urban building might not be required to be a skyscraper to have significance, but in fact, create an energy generating skin that can soak up the suns rays to create energy through photovoltaic cells. Secondly the formation of the skin could help with the wind patterns of the specific site location to bring air into the building while generating electricity through external and internal wind turbines. Also effective at providing cooling are simple geothermal energy transfers through temperature differentials in the ground temperature. Despite skeptics views to the contrary, morphing skin exteriors can generate very effective solar energy based on reflective patterns. Also counter intuitive is the fact that windows need not open to bring in fresh air. Large internal vents and filtered duct scoops can bring in huge volumes of air more effectively than windows open in 125 degrees during sand storms. The structure does have operable windows that can be open during temperate seasons and for quality of life and safety purposes.
As countries with larger financial capital strive to show responsible approach to reducing the carbon footprint and an eye towards energy efficient survival new forms of architecture have been emerging. Wood's design exemplifies an exploratory approach to sustainabililty in design that raises questions of how can we create buildings that may be resource hungry to create, but that at least will exist into the future without consuming unnecessary energy and can minimize waste while maximizing efficiency. The Center of Science and Sustainability could be a start into looking at a future where being energy efficient will not even be an option but a required necessity.