Gallery: Emerald Plaza by Emergent Architecture


Public space is essential in any urban environment, but drawing people out can be difficult when the weather makes the outdoors uncomfortable. The Emerald Plaza in Abu Dhabi by Los Angeles-based Emergent Architecture is intended to invite people out of doors despite high temperatures by offering shade and a wide expanse of space. The multi-level, modern plaza physically links the buildings surrounding it via walkways, while cooling pools help to regulate the plaza’s temperature.

Emerald Plaza‘s ground-level environment acts much like a grotto, maintaining a comfortable temperature with water regulated and cooled by geothermal heat pumps. Above it, a sculptural volume is crafted from the surrounding angular geometries. This space will be used as an indoors conference and media center that overlooks the water. The pools will be filled with solar-powered lily pads and flowers to create an attractive public space for the nighttime hours, when lower temperatures will make both the lower and upper terraces more inviting.

+ Emergent Architecture

Via World Architecture News

Photos courtesy of Emergent Architecture


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  1. surroundings November 1, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    I agree with urbanlegend…What is green about millions of gallons of water evaporating in the desert? It is like saying that the Bellagio fountain is a good solution for creating cooler micro-climates in Las Vegas.

    If the pools were completely shaded, that would reduce the loss to evaporation, but even using water and wind as a cooling mechanism in the desert is irresponsible at this scale. We are located in the southwestern US and our office has been researching the use of a similar idea, but combined with graywater. We are still looking to find data that supports the use of graywater in an airborne setting unless it is fully treated.

    With such a dominance of hardscape, this design would benefit from more (xeric, of course!) vegetation to create the cooling they seek.

  2. urbanlegend October 30, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    It looks cool, but not very green, if there was some sort of a bioclimate, then maybe the air that the users would be breathing could be clean…

    just a green thought

  3. MonkeyManx October 30, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    This building looks like a Yatch!

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