Glass-façade towers are popping up every where with little thought and consideration for the local climate, even in the harsh desert environment of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates where the mercury can shoot north of hundred degrees in the summer. These glass buildings let in sunlight that quickly heats up the buildings’ interior turning them into greenhouses, consequently requiring even more air-conditioning to make the buildings habitable. The increased energy cost negates any benefit in time, materials and money that was to be had by choosing glass instead of brick and mortar.
The Al Bahr Towers in Abu Dhabi is no different. The 29-story, 145-meter-tall twin towers, located at the intersection of Al Saada and Al Salam Street, has a façade made entirely of glass. But Al Bahr’s exterior is covered by a protective cocoon of 2,000 umbrella-like sunshades that open and close automatically in response to the intensity of sunlight.
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