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Siemens HQ in Masdar City

Sheppard Robson’s Siemens Middle East Headquarters at Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, officially opened this week, establishing a new benchmark for sustainable office buildings in the Middle East. The 22,800 m2 structure, which floats above a new public plaza, is the result of a stringent brief. This was proposed by Siemens and MASDAR then developed by Sheppard Robson to create a building that is truly optimized for its purpose, delivering the most sustainable building possible for the same cost per square meter as a typical headquarters in the UAE.

Courtesy of Sheppard Robson – Photography: Huffton + Crow

The Siemens Middle East Headquarters is one of the first buildings in the region to achieve LEED Platinum. The sustainable credentials were achieved through combining traditional design and parametric analysis to deliver an efficient and compact form that uses less material and minimizes embodied carbon.

Courtesy of Sheppard Robson – Photography: Huffton + Crow

The office floors – over 60% of which are occupied by Siemens – float above and shade the public plaza, which connects the level change between the existing adjacent podium and the more formal square. The plaza has been designed as a terraced extension of the existing public realm and encourages pedestrian movement within the heart of the site. This shared public space is further enhanced by a series of external ‘rooms’, retail units and two fully glazed office receptions.

Courtesy of Sheppard Robson – Photography: Huffton + Crow

The building’s envelope was conceived as a box within a box. The inner section is a highly insulated, airtight façade designed to reduce thermal conductivity; surrounding this is a lightweight aluminum external shading system that minimizes solar gain whilst maximizing daylight and views from the building. The variation in the form of the shading systems, characterized by light-weight aluminum fins, creates a strong architectural language for the building, with each facade tailored to suit its solar orientation.

Courtesy of Sheppard Robson – Photography: Paul McMullin

The building’s super-sized floor plates, each measuring 4,500m2, have been optimized for efficiency, daylight, and flexibility using parametric modeling and achieves over 90% efficiency. The floor plates, punctuated by nine atria and served by six perimeter cores are completely column-free. An innovative structural system reduces the material used in construction by approximately 60% and provides maximum flexibility for the office space planning. The arrangement enables each of the four office floors to be subdivided into a combination of various space sizes and therefore creates flexibility for the building to be remodeled over time to accommodate up to 32 tenants.

Courtesy of Sheppard Robson – Photography: Nicole Luettecke

Project Info
Architects: Sheppard Robson
Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Area: 22800.0 sqm
Engineer: AECOM
Year: 2013
Type: Headquarter, Office Building
Photographs: Paul McMullin, Huffton + Crow, Nicole Luettecke

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