The Minister of Municipal Affairs & Agriculture (MMAA) in Qatar is getting a brand new office building that takes the form of a towering cactus. Designed by Bangkok-based Aesthetics Architects, the modern office and adjoining botanical dome take cues from cacti and the way that they successfully survive in hot, dry environments.

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Qatar is fairly barren, covered by sand, and receives and average annual rainfall of 3.2 inches. Since Qatar has the highest GDP in the world, they can afford to construct spectacular buildings that can be very efficient in the hot desert environment. Aesthetics Architects GO Group decided to model the MMA’s new office upon the cactus, taking inspiration from the way these plants deal with the scorching desert climate.

An excellent example of desert architecture, MMA’s new building is designed be very energy efficient and utilizes sun shades on its windows. Depending on the intensity of the sun during the day, the sun shades can open or close to keep out the heat when it is too much. This is similar to how a cactus chooses to perform transpiration at night rather during the day in order to retain water – another great example of biomimicry. The botanic dome at the base of the tower will house a botanical garden. Hopefully it will include an edible garden and a living machine as well.