International architecture and design firm Mask Architects have been chosen as one of the ten winning designs for the Cool Abu Dhabi Challenge competition, in envisioning palm-like futuristic structures sprouting from the ground, mimicking the shape of a mushroom. The competition is a significant step to confront climate change and engender a more green environment and incorporate sustainable solutions to retaliate against the heat island effect in warm places like Abu Dhabi.
This global challenge has received over 300 entries from 67 countries. ‘The Artificial Breathing Palm Modular Structure System’ was the striking proposal by Mask Architects. The firm’s design philosophy and approach for creating a ‘Magnetic Field Design Strategy and Particular Distribution Curve flaunt well in their vision of these canopy structures as they bend, bevel, and bow in stark beauty. From a bird’s eye view, it resembles a triangular form with curved corners of each in multiple sizes floating amidst the greens.
The idea of fusion between nature and architecture is quite an issue that needs innovative thinking, purposeful clarity, and smart perspectives. ‘The Oasys’ as the firm calls is literally an oasis in the middle of the city, designed for the residents of Abu Dhabi to relax, refresh and relish outdoor spaces without sensing the heat. ‘The Oasys’ system is composed of a network of gridded stations and hubs performing as islands of harbor and refuge. A rectangular piece of the site is allocated to be the first location, which will serve as the central hub that can be used as a resting place, for social activities, social programs, and communal gatherings. This integration of activities promises for the collective good and community’s growth. The spaces beneath adheres to serve multiple amenities like temporary pop-ups, sitting areas, cafes, exhibitions, sports, and much more.
Each elemental palm module is designed to spray mist through nozzles that underlay beneath each flap, and the roof surface of each structure collects solar energy through inbuilt solar panels. These structures stand to define a sculptural essence while acting as a barrier from regional and environmental issues such as heat, UV rays, noise, wind, and sand storms. Overall, these elements control the atmosphere within to keep it comfortable, tranquil, and cool. The structural foundations are pinned to each plot of land marked for cooling, and they house the water storage and other vital types of equipment. Green landscaping and large trees encircle the canopies that relax and ease the sound pollution and wind entering into the spaces. This blend of technology and nature embosom an eco-friendly space, heralding an efficient green image to the city.
The future of ‘The Oasys’ by Mask Architects is visualized to connect as multiple networks strewn around the cities, weaving the canopy hubs in a perfect symbiosis. The modular design of the system enables each element to be precisely adjusted and scaled. This mechanism allows for an easy replication to inculcate grouped palm structures in any scale of space. The vein-like flutes about the structure light up at night, sparkling a playful delight into the spaces it hugs beneath its wings.
‘The Oasys’ is a soaring take on rethinking public spaces and how it affects the public bubble, how the spaces are going to be socially active, and what functions encourage a fresh ambiance, life, and mood into these zones.