Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) has named European architecture firm Mask Architects’ palm tree-inspired Oasys proposal one of the 10 winners in ‘Cool Abu Dhabi’. This global design competition sought sustainable solutions for mitigating the urban heat island effect. The winning design calls for a solar-powered refuge with modular, palm tree-like structures that would provide protection from the elements and respite from the heat with solar-powered misters and lush landscaping. The multipurpose, pop-up spaces could also be used for a variety of functions, from cafes and and retail stands to exhibition spaces.

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rendering of walkway winding beneath several tall shade-providing structures

Mask Architect’s Oasys proposal draws the eye with its massive palm tree-inspired structures that the architects said would be topped with solar panels and integrated with lights and nozzles that spray a cooling mist into the air. Dubbed the Artificial Breathing Palm modular structure system, the design includes a “foundation base” that conceals all of the technical equipment — including water and electric lines as well as solar batteries — as well as five triangular module types of varying sizes. The modules can connect together in different configurations to fit a variety of settings, while lush landscaping would be planted around the modules to give the space more of an oasis-like feel.

Related: Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center blends into the landscape

rendering of tall tree-like structures
rendering of tall structures among trees

“The ‘Oasis’ design concept has been influenced by the need to create a greener city as well as creating a real oasis in the middle of the city,” Mask Architects explained. “Besides the the flexible and replaceable design line, any outdoor functions are adapted easily into ‘Oasys’ conceptA mechanism that can be replicated easily to form a network of hubs and centre points in which they act as islands of rest places, socialising and sociable communal for the collective and community.”

rendering of walkway beneath large structures providing shade
closeup rendering of lights along tall structures

The ‘Cool Abu Dhabi’ global design competition concluded earlier this year and received over 300 entries from nearly 70 countries. The 10 winning entries were announced online and each received $10,000 each in prize money. 

+ Mask Architects

Images via Mask Architects