Gallery: Bahrain World Trade Center Activates Wind Turbines


You may remember that about a year ago we brought you news of the Bahrain World Trade Center, which was designed to have three giant turbines provide power to the building. Well, this past Tuesday, the project was finally completed, with the final testing and installation of the enormous wind turbines which power the building. This week, Bahrain WTC has, for the first time, activated all three 29m-diameter turbines at the same time!

It may not sound like much, but for such a high profile project, this represents a huge step. When we first brought you news of the project, the turbines had just been installed. And for the past year, all have slowly been tested and balanced, to ensure that they were working properly. But as of now, the project team can lay claim to having successfully incorporated a technology which had never been proven on a building, and certainly not at this scale. The three wind turbines are expected to provide around 10-15% of the power for both towers, representing about 3.5% of the total cost of the project.

“Having all three turbines spinning simultaneously represents an historic achievement for this landmark project and Atkins is excited to have been a major player in turning the original idea into reality” said Simha LytheRao Senior Project Manager for Atkins, designers for the project.

+ Bahrain World Trade Center Turbines Spin for the First Time
+ Video of BWTC Turbines in Action

Here’s a clip on the BWTC turbine construction (in Spanish)

Gallery: BAHRAIN WORLD TRADE CENTER Has Giant Wind Turbines!


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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  1. Lapid March 3, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    It’s great! Not every place has to be a shorebird haven. Having a building with its energy balance on its sleeve and bearing cooling notions visible right under the surface is a nice kinetic sculptural asset which I hope doesn’t just make everyone lose it when heard in person. Engineering pivot involved, eh? All the best, Baharain.

  2. Eveline Leenman November 12, 2014 at 1:44 am

    Cool structure this WTC of Manama. Atkins made a masterpiece with this sailshaped building and its 3 proppelar turbines!

  3. Untidy Joseph March 17, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    That’s amazing! Sweet wind turbine. :)

  4. Ansyari September 30, 2010 at 6:39 am

    It’s great. Go green…..

  5. john morris January 14, 2010 at 9:39 am

    hi how much was this ???????????????????????????????????????????????????? i love cheese xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and u xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  6. Modassar N Wahidi December 12, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Dear all,
    What ever is the reason to produce electricity by the wind turbines?it is all ok,just come and have a look of the architecture of the BWTC,its quite well,I salute those engineers who designed this tower,we r human being so we must consider the good thing abt the building not the bad thing why the turbines not working so and so.

  7. RAMANAN December 7, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Recently we had (me and my wife)been to Bharin and opportunity to look at this masterpiece. But the turbines are not working for many days from the date of inspection. an executive working in one of the office located thee informed me that the building is getting disturbed electricity power supply !

    Ramanan India

  8. old techhie April 11, 2008 at 12:42 am

    Of course, window fans with permanent magnet generators in each office window would be an alternative or suppliment to the turbines.
    Some semiconductor materials increase resistance when hot, thus lowering current, while other semi materials decrease resistance, thus self-destructing when too hot. “Doping” material migration also decreases efficiency over time with PV’s. The Three Bears applies to PV engineering- not too hot, not too cold, just right. (Although in the real world, atmospheric cold is good.). Maybe they could float the PV’s on the water as a natural cooler. Maybe they could use oil, since they have more than they know what to do with. Maybe they could not use electricity or oil, and live off the land.

  9. me March 3, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    I think that wind turbines, like people, have a dark and light side. Wind turbines are good because of the priced and shortages of fossil fuels, yet people need to be extremelly carful where they put them. They CANNOT put them on mountains or in valleys, because this destroys the natural beauty, and we’ve already corrupted the earth enough!

  10. Adrian Strider February 5, 2008 at 4:40 am

    I think the concept is absolutely brilliant, no matter how possible or probable it is. We as humans really havn’t much time to make up for our mistakes so anything that contributes to a more eco friendly spin on power generation, or at least inspires thought along the those lines can only be good for us as a whole.
    I think in an ideal world any and all buildings should have some sort of natural energy (of which we have an incredible abundence) to electric energy converter, incorperated into its design somehow.
    Well done, keep it up, I really hope your design materializes and inspires a world wide trend for a long lasting and sustainable future.

  11. thadeaus January 31, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    guys thats the best i seen i havent been in new york since the accident with the other ones

  12. FOILED December 31, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Whose idea was the design. On what grounds was this idea based??

  13. Adonis Amano December 21, 2007 at 6:34 am

    It’s really a masterpiece. I’m very proud I’ve been part of the construction team project particularly in the M&E services.

  14. DUSTIN December 20, 2007 at 9:45 am


  15. MARTIN October 18, 2007 at 4:45 am





  16. Edwin October 16, 2007 at 6:07 am


    I do not think this Bahrain World Trade Centre will be completed. If you can watch the construction, the main structure of this twin tower is not proper. Because of this reason when ever they try to fix a glass into the building it not getting fixed. Now as per the recent developments, the main contractor is leaving the wotk without the full work completed. As per the Senior Engineer of Nass Murray they can not complete the project because they do not have the proper enginners, architect etc. So they just leaving the building and going.

    As per the BWTC the building will starts @1st Quarter of 2008. But if you see the building it will not starts by 2010. So naturally all the committed tennents will move out from this building.

    Actually speaking they do not want to complete the building.

  17. Travis Lee April 25, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    If you look closeley at the pictures, a large portion of the glass windows have overhangs above them in order to shade from the most direct sunlight during mid-day. So those of you complaining about how it is a big greenhouse… I’m sure they took that into consideration while building this. There are overhangs and it seems like the glass is very reflective as well.

  18. Liara Covert April 23, 2007 at 2:56 am

    The design and eco-friendly concept of Bahrain World Trade Centre are thought-provoking and ironically perhaps, make more than one point, whether or not you agree with the quantity building materials, Truly creative architects are known to have a style is detectable in different projects. Consider Santiago Calatrava’s work on the Tenerife Opera House, in Tenerife, Spain, and how his architectural influence also becomes recognizable elsewhere.

  19. Katrina Sewell April 16, 2007 at 6:42 am

    Burj Al Arab Hotel was also an Atkins design so hardly stolen!!

  20. Rania Masri April 15, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Awesome design………Wether it’s fetish or not…..

  21. Jack Key April 15, 2007 at 7:44 am

    Between the vibration and the sand getting into the bearings, I have my doubts this will be successful.

  22. Haley Hillestad April 12, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    WOW Im doing a report an wind turbine but WOW amazing good work im inpressed!

  23. Jim April 12, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    PV is still not cost effective to be used in buldings, while wind power can be installed and make a profit. That maybe why PV was not used — its used normally for industrial welfare and jobs programs.

    If you examine most of the major projects using solar panels, you will quickly realize there is a government subsidy involved. The panels are installed not for power generation, but to cash in on the subsidy.

    In the nutty State of California, we pay up to $.39 kwh for solar, while the national market rate for power is between $.12 to $.18. Here and in many places, the use of solar panels is to get a check from the government/utility — that’s where the money is.

    Solar Power = Industrial Welfare, Campaign Contribution, and Union jobs.

  24. Paul House April 11, 2007 at 12:11 am

    I think solar electric is far less efficient than wind, both in a $ sense and in efficiency,even if they aren’t overheating. A solar panel spends its first 2 years making up the energy it took to build it. Wind, assuming it blows there, is much cleaner and smarter. Maybe the towers shouldn’t exist, but with low-e glass and cycling the air between the sunny & shady sides they may not need a/c or heat.

    I’d like to see wind retrofitted to city sky scrapers, even between buildings over streets – the funneling of wind makes good sense being that almost any prevailing wind direction would make the blades turn.

    In a world where architectural frustration abounds, these look super!

  25. Ana M. F April 3, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    I consider the actual building design is awesome. However, in my personal opinion I think solar energy is a perfect and eco-friendly option to solve the low-energy aspect in terms of saving energy. Beeing respectfull, I consider the windturbines were just added in the design during the construction process or at the last time for whatever reasons which look to me out of place or balance in terms of the building design. On the other hand, a building like this one located in a dessertic area should defenitely consider other sustainable and efficient options.

  26. Gwen Eiffel April 3, 2007 at 9:23 am

    Two problems that make PV not as attractive as it could be are the long paybacks and the low efficiencies, which occur because of the excess heat accumulation associated with PV. For every 1ºC rise in PV panel temperature, there is a 0.4% – 0.5% drop in the electrical output efficiency, and this is why the concept of “PV cooling” has become so important.

  27. A Tawfeeqi April 2, 2007 at 11:23 pm

    the windturbines were not part of the origional design, they were just slapped on later for some reason

  28. Nick Simpson April 2, 2007 at 6:54 am

    The more I look at it the more this is obviously another example of greenwashing. If they want to be sustainable, just don’t build multi-story greenhouses in the dessert and then air condition them each and every day…

  29. Jeff Keiling April 2, 2007 at 1:28 am

    Magnetic field would be virtually unmeasurable even if you were standing just outside the turbine housing. As the previous poster replied they turn fairly slowly. A locomotive generator turns at 825 rpm at full power and generates tremendous amounts of electrical energy and there are no problems whatsoever with magnetic fields. I think the building looks great. As another poster stated, anything like this that is done (particularly on such a noteable scale) is great for the green power movement.
    Indeed it’s true that it serves as much as a novelty as for practical application, but so what?
    To me, the really troublesome thing is that it’s being done all over the world and for pete’s sake even in oil land…why not in the energy hungry United States. America has fallen way behind in the renewables sector. Sad.

  30. mandaman April 1, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Are you serious? Wind is strickly making electical energy from mechanical at a generally slow rate (spinning the generator at a controlled rate). Its not possible to make the generator turn fast enough to make a field that is dangerous.

    PV (solar) decreases in energy conversion rate with temperature because of the way electrons flow in a system. That’s very simplified I know, but this post is already too long.

  31. Jimmy Z March 31, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    What about the electromagnetic field generated when these things spin up. Normally it would be enough to wipe out most magnetic media in close proximity?

  32. Tim Smarzo March 30, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    This is a neat building, and the same concept can be used on bridges and other structures – Hoover dam? I’m guessing the heat problem is more with the solar collectors themselves. The more heat, the more inefficient electric circuits become. Friction increases and you lose power to heat in a feedback condition.

  33. Ann Garrison March 30, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    This reminds me of the Bush Solar Ranch, George Bush’s state-of-the-art environmental design, in Crawford, TX. U.S. reporters are always announcing that “Saudi oil sheikhs arrived to meet with the preisdent at his Crawford, Texas ranch.”

    I don’t know why even the U. S. dssident press is so afraid to admit that we get nuclear, coal-fired, and gas turbine power, while George, Bush, the U.S. military, Bahrain, and, no doubt, Saudi oil sheikhs get clean, green power.

  34. Michael V. March 30, 2007 at 10:37 am

    I am happy to see that more and more architectural & engineering firms and real estate developers are embracing and implementing sustainability features into their design:)

    I am not happy to see yet another “wind sail” design motif incorporated into a skyscraper; did that, done that.
    Another stolen design concept of the original “Burj Al Arab” skyscraper completed nearly 8 years ago in Dubai.

    Also, what is up with those “3 giant wind turbines” stuck and slapped between the two buildings, looks ugly at best. Perhaps they could of integrated and embedded the turbines into the facades of the building creating a sophisticated design. I guess they did NOT want to lose any valuable real estate.

  35. Lila Munem March 30, 2007 at 9:02 am

    Trully beautifully designed buildings and an attempt at efficiency, more than most could say.

  36. Jodi Smits Anderson March 30, 2007 at 8:55 am

    Symbolistic kitch or not, add-on or not, “sustainable” or not ( not building anything being better for the environment), every prominent example of production and use of renewable energy is one step closer to world-wide (and normal, everyday) use of all sorts of renewable systems.

    Go, man, go!

  37. Kim March 29, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    “regular” PVs were engineered originally for NASA in outer space where temperatures are extremely cold–the higher the temperature the lower their efficiency–why they work so well in Germany and not as much in Florida. However, there are Solar Thermal systems, where strip mirrors focus the sun directly onto PVs which are attached to water tubes that draw the heat directly (as well as the power the PV produces) and teh water is sent to a chiller to rpoduce air conditioning and power on site. These systems have been used worldwide commerically, but are now moving into residential – first residential use is right here in Tampa, FL. We have plenty of heat for the systems. Sounds like they should be looking at this in the desert too.

  38. neil March 29, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    i would also be interesting in knowing why PV cells could not have been engineered for the building…

  39. gooddesign March 29, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    This is like a conceptual design. Just like Modern Car Show. Nothing is bad.

  40. Sirkku Hölttä March 29, 2007 at 11:39 am

    50 % more electricity, 0 db (soundless) and less maintenance:

  41. Alan March 29, 2007 at 4:01 am

    Why not use solar panels?

  42. Sam March 29, 2007 at 12:29 am

    This is just SILLY. sustainability is not a ‘stick it on’ solution !
    what about solar energy, wouldn’t that make much more sense in an environment where there is much more sun and so much less wind??? and why so much glass in an a desert environment??? how much more air conditiong power they could have saved with better shading and/or less glass ??? (wake up its NOT about sticking mills on the building) these mills CAN be anywhere else for god sakes, and there can be more than 3 of them somewhere else, this way they can save this corny structure from looking even more contrived – oh and enough of the sail symbolism pleaaaasee!!!! how many times already in this region of the world (fetish or lack of imagination?)

  43. Nick Simpson March 28, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    Hahaha, spotter’s badge for Loot… I must admit, if they want to be sustainable, don’t build big glass skyscrapers in the middle east, but then we all know that already I guess. Still, if they’re going to do it, they may as well be that little bit greener about it.

    As for the PVs, I’m not entirely sure why, but the efficiency of a PV panel is reduced as it gets hotter. At the sort of temperatures you’d get in Bahrain, they’d be next to useless.

  44. Dimucio March 28, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    Hey all. i think the towers looks beautiful!
    And the best of all is that save energy! right?! this can be used and on other buildings. :)

  45. Loot March 28, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    Oops! That should’ve been 50cm, not 500cm!

  46. Loot March 28, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Let’s see: A 29 meter wind turbine, supported by a 30-meter bridge. Yes, I know how I’d feel with a giant propeller spinning just 500cm from my window.

  47. Chris March 28, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    “The turbines are expected to deliver between 11 and 15 percent of the energy needs for both BWTC towers; between 1,100 and 1,300 megawatt hours per year. The use of the clean electricity is expected to prevent about 55,000 cubic kgC of carbon annually from being emitted into the air. ”

  48. Jay Shah March 28, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Can someone, an expert/learned person, on this topic predict how much power/energy these three windmills are going to generate. Yes i do agree that its an achievement that they have made it through to this stage.. but in pain terms how useful are they going to prove?

  49. Abe March 28, 2007 at 11:32 am

    Does anyone know why PV cannot be used in extreme heat?

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