Foster + Partners unveil the design of the Lusail Towers in Qatar – the environmentally sensitive complex design driven by a customised technological approach…
Lusail Towers is a landmark project in Qatar, envisioned as the catalyst for a new central business district in the city with a distinctive collection of four high-rise buildings. The 1.1 million-square-metre development will host the headquarters for several global organisations, while creating a new downtown district that is sensitive to the climate and linked to a new transportation hub. The project is part of a larger masterplan also designed by Foster + Partners, which is being completed ahead of the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar.
Located at the end of the grand boulevard that links the new football stadium to the corniche, the two taller towers stand at 70 storeys, while the other two are 50-storeys-high, all arranged symmetrically around a central plaza.
The elliptical footprints of the towers morph through 90-degrees as they rise, gently shifting the viewing axis outward and offering stunning views of the surrounding city and waterfront. The structure remains symmetrical in plan through this morph, its central concrete core surrounded by sixteen inclined columns around the perimeter, to create the unique geometry of the design. Wind tunnel tests carried out early in the design process inform the optimisation of the structure.
The tower façades clad in marine-grade aluminium are designed in response to the sun with projecting profiles that wrap around the building, shading the glazing from the harsh sun, while preserving views out and daylight. The active systems design proposals include centralised thermal storage using innovative phase change materials to reduce cooling energy, high pressure hydronic systems to reduce pumping energy, demand-controlled ventilation to reduce fan energy, efficient LED lighting and advanced automation controls which contribute to reducing the site energy demand by 35% when compared to a baseline building. In response to the increasing water scarcity in the region, grey water, rainwater, and condensate is recycled and reused on-site for irrigation and toilet flushing, significantly reducing the demand for potable water. The Lusail Plaza Towers development targets 4 stars in the regional Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS).
At the base, several podium buildings surround each tower, with shops, cafes and restaurants that help animate the public realm. These buildings feature moulded concrete panels, giving the buildings a high thermal mass, with minimal punched windows that reduce the amount of solar heat to the interior spaces. 20% of the site is covered with lush but drought-tolerant landscape, where more than 70% of the species are native. Inspired by the learnings from the region, the narrow human-scaled streets and shaded terraces create an inviting public realm at ground level, with the building blocks arranged around courtyards that capture cooling breezes.
With environmental design as a key driver, the project is underpinned by innovation, exemplified by customised technological tools to assist, and optimise an integrated design approach.
Project: Lusail Towers
Architect Firm: Foster + Partners
Renders: Copyright Foster + Partners
Text credits: Foster + Partners