by Jorge Chapa
Not wanting to be left behind by Saudi Arabia and Dubai, the country of Bahrain has been approving some interesting and eye-popping developments in the realm of green architecture. Especially interesting is the new Bahrain World Trade Center located in the city of Manama. The 50-story complex contains two identical towers that rise over 240 meters in height. The sail-shaped buildings offer a visually striking silhouette, appropriately referencing the maritime environment of this small Middle Eastern island, and boast one very unique feature — 3 giant wind turbines tying the two “sails” together.
The design firm of Atkins did not believe that the look of the project was enough, and felt that it was important to incorporate sustainability features into this design. They first attempted to bring in solar panels into the project, but found that the extreme heat conditions of Bahrain made it an unfeasible proposition. So they turned to a second option, and came up with an even more striking image, that of the three 29 meter wind turbines, each supported by a 30-meter bridge spanning between the two towers.
The floorplan was key in making this feature work. The wing-like towers help to funnel and accelerate the wind velocity between them. Furthermore, the difference in the vertical shape of the towers should help reduce the pressure differences between the bridges, which, when combined with an increased wind speed at the higher levels, should provide an equal velocity amongst the turbines. All this will provide for an even greater efficiency in the powering of the generators.
When I heard about this project, I honestly thought that this feature would eventually be dropped. We’ve all seen it happen, a cool looking tower ends up changing dramatically due to cost-cutting, changes in the marketplace conditions, or a change in scope or brief.
But, luckily, it turns out that I was wrong. The Bahrain World Trade Center has just recently completed the installation of the three wind turbines, officially making it the first building in the world to incorporate this sort of technology at this scale. The turbines will be tested throughout the rest of 2007 and if all goes well, they ought to start normal operation next year.
+Bahrain World Trade Center
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