BSBG has completed the handover of Abu Dhabi’s first purpose-built eco-residence, Masdar N1R, located within Masdar City. It can now be announced that the residence, which consists of 11 blocks housing approximately 500 one and two-bedroom units, is to be staff accommodation for Etihad Airways employees, with Abu Dhabi International Airport situated adjacent to the new development. The project was completed under a Design & Build contract for Multiplex.
Social, economic and environmental sustainability are at the core of Masdar N1R, which aims as part of Masdar City to be a leader in this regard, and to provide a blueprint for other sustainable initiatives to take place across the world. Masdar N1R has achieved the heralded LEED-Platinum status, coming as a result of a partnership between BSBG as Lead Consultant, and sustainability experts AESG. At the time of writing, just 18 buildings in the UAE currently boast a LEED-Platinum rating.
Previously, BSBG operated as the Lead Consultant on the Masdar Headquarters building – the first to be built within the eco-city – home to the Secretariat of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Masdar – Abu Dhabi’s Future Energy Company. This building became the first in the UAE to achieve the Estidama 4 Pearl rating. Masdar N1R continues in the footprint of the IRENA and Masdar HQ; with its modern methods of energy, water and carbon efficiency, the target is to achieve the Estidama 3 Pearl Rating, in addition to its already confirmed LEED-Platinum status.Numerous innovative features were incorporated as BSBG developed the concept so as to achieve the design intent and meet the client’s green objectives. This was accomplished by adopting some unique techniques and methodology; one example being the products and materials used throughout the development, many of which were brought into the region for the first time, improving the building façade efficiency and thermal performance. These were utilised in combination with passive shading systems, and so the demands on artificial methods of cooling within Masdar N1R have been substantially reduced. The project relied heavily on local suppliers, with around 20% of materials coming from within an 800 km radius, reducing transport-related carbon emissions.
BSBG worked closely with Multiplex, BG&E and ESD Global using Navis Works to achieve a clash-free model. All companies must be given great credit for their efforts in realising Masdar’s aspirations. The modular construction was accommodated by individual room pods, custom-built and pre-fabricated offsite – an integral component of the fast track construction methods deployed throughout the short construction process. The apartments feature dry partition walls, as opposed to traditional blockwork. This is a method rarely seen in the UAE, although it is now widely adopted in the UK and other similar territories. Credit must go to both Multiplex and Masdar for embracing this approach and staying ahead of the field in the region, making every effort to ensure this development is unique, and setting the standard for purpose-built accommodation in the UAE. Indeed, for BSBG, working alongside a contractor in Multiplex and client in Masdar, both of whom understand and embrace more modern methods of construction (such as pods, Steel Framing Systems (SFS), dry partition walling and pre-fabrication) has been regarded throughout the practice as being not only trailblazing, but a real breath of fresh air in the UAE.Nick Turbott, Project Director for Masdar N1R, had this to say on the successful completion and handover of the eco-residence: “Masdar N1R is a pioneering venture focused on achieving world-leading sustainability objectives. As a part of the Masdar City ecosystem, we feel that with this residential complex we have laid down a pathway for the anticipated developments in the growing sustainable city to follow. N1R is an example of a holistic approach to sustainable development. We used our knowledge and experience in architectural sustainability, as well as the expertise of our partners in this field, particularly AESG, to accomplish a community for the future – and one that represents the UAE’s green objectives, as well as Masdar’s vision for the advancement of renewable energy, clean technologies and sustainable development.”
During the construction phases, Masdar N1R has garnered much publicity and international interest, the highlight of which was a personal visit from the former Vice President of the United Sates under the Obama administration, Joe Biden. The complex was officially opened last week by Etihad CEO Tony Douglas, alongside Masdar CEO, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, and Khaled Al Qubaisi, Chief Executive for Aerospace, Renewables & Information Communications Technology (ICT) at Mubadala.