Abu Dhabi

Pearl of the Emirates – Energy & Sustainability Advisor for Concept Design for pavilion for Expo 2020.

Sonas acted as energy and sustainabilty advisor for a innovative concept design for a design competition for the Abu Dhabi pavillion for expo 2020. Working with international architects COOP Himmelb(L)AU who were the design lead.

Our concept was for a dynamic building that opened at night to cool the building core and offer open aspects, while closing during the heat of the day to produce stack effect, passive cooling.

Dr Telford at Sonas is a qualified Estidama consultant. the design was a for 5 pearl rating under Estidama.

  • Building form minimises thermal gain. Sphere is highest enclosed volume to surface area. Building   dynamically alters its form to maximise wind and stack effect. The building mimics nature by responding to diurnal and  seasonal shifts in external climatic conditions to minimise resource consumption and provide a comfortable and cool internal environment. 
  • Internally split liveable space into fully conditioned space and naturally ventilated buffer zone.
  • Fully conditioned space will use full enthalpy heat recovery (recovering coolth and adiabatic cooling from air space).
  •  Mixed mode ventilation, Use of the chilled beams in conditioned space to provide radiant cooling and enhanced liveable space.
  • Naturally ventilated buffer zone with enhanced stack effect during the day and opening panels to achieve free cooling of the building mass at night.
  • Openings within building form to utilise Bernoulli and stack effects to cool off thermal mass of the core building at night, storing cool for the day.
  • Careful attention to solar gain and minimising insolation of the buffer zones
  • Utilising insolation of the enclosing envelope to provide enhanced stack effect of the naturally conditioned buffer zone.
  • Maximising the wind catcher effect on the perforated domed top to provide shielded liveable out door space at the top levels.
  • Public realm: Maximising shade and minimising heat gain
  • Micro-climate considerations for the surrounding environment. The design will accommodate the open landscape areas providing cooler walkable spaces.


  1. Integrated Development Process encouraging cross-disciplinary teamwork to deliver environmental and quality management throughout the life of the project.
  • Natural Systems: Conserving, preserving and restoring the region’s critical natural environments and habitats.
  • Liveable Buildings: Improving the quality and connectivity of outdoor and indoor spaces.
  • Precious Water: Reducing water demand and encouraging efficient distribution and alternative water sources.
  • Resourceful Energy: Targeting energy conservation through passive design measures, reduced demand, energy efficiency and renewable sources.
  • Stewarding Materials: Ensuring consideration of the ‘whole-of-life’ cycle when selecting and specifying materials.
  • Innovating Practice: encouraging innovation in building design and construction to facilitate market and industry transformation

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