Foster + Partners reveals plans for high-rise Lusail Towers in Qatar

Fusing in-depth technologies to address environmental concerns, Foster + Partners envisions the design for the Lusail Towers as a catalyst for a new business district.

by STIRworldPublished on : Jan 16, 2021

Award-winning architectural practice Foster + Partners has revealed the images of Lusail Towers, part of a larger masterplan 15 km north of Doha in the city of Lusail. The 1.1 million sqm development, with an exclusive cluster of four high-rise buildings, will host the headquarters for the Qatar National Bank, Qatar Central Bank and Qatar Investment Authority alongside several other global organisations including Qatari Diar.

Lusail Towers is being envisioned as a catalyst for a new central business district that is sensitive to the climate and linked to a new transportation hub, resulting in a personal human-scale streetscape, while also responding to the city on an urban scale. “Environmental design was a key driver in the design. Coupled with carefully configured systems design, the project has lower energy use and carbon emissions when compared to similar scale projects in the region,” mentions Piers Heath, Head of Environmental Engineering at Foster + Partners.

The project comprises two towers at 70 stories and the other two at 50-stories high, arranged symmetrically around a central plaza | Lusail Towers designed by Foster + Partners | STIRworld
The project comprises two towers at 70 stories and the other two at 50-stories high, arranged symmetrically around a central plaza Image: Courtesy of Foster + Partners

The project is supported by innovation, exemplified by the technological tools developed by the practice to assist the integrated design team. “Projects associated with major sporting events leave no room for delays. We needed to approach the project differently, using technology to maintain consistency in the information flows across different disciplines,” says Jonathan Parr, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners.

And so, the team deployed an in-house software system called ‘Hermes’ that coordinated design data and facilitated sharing in real-time across disciplines, departments, applications, organisations and locations. “One of the most valuable contributions Hermes has made to our design process is to eliminate the need to manually rebuild models for different purposes,” informs Adam Davis, Partner in the Applied Research and Development team at the London-based architectural firm.

Located at the end of the grand boulevard that connects the new 86,250-seater football stadium to the corniche, the two taller towers have 70 stories while the other two are 50 stories high. The elliptical footprints of the towers morph through 90 degrees while the structure remains symmetrical in plan, comprising a central concrete core surrounded by 16 inclined columns around the perimeter, cladded in marine-grade aluminium. The twisting shading fins were developed to offer an optimal outer solar shade, along with an inherent reduction in exposed glazing.

Active system designs to optimize energy use | Lusail Towers designed by Foster + Partners | STIRworld
Active system designs to optimize energy use Image: Courtesy of Foster + Partners

The active systems design proposals include centralised thermal storage 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 to reduce the site energy demand by 35 per cent. Also, in response to the increasing water scarcity in Qatar, grey water, rainwater and condensate is recycled and reused on-site for irrigation and toilet flushing, significantly reducing the demand for potable water.

Lush and drought-tolerant landscape at Lusail Towers designed by Foster + Partners | Lusail Towers designed by Foster + Partners | STIRworld
Lush and drought-tolerant landscape at Lusail Towers designed by Foster + Partners Image: Courtesy of Foster + Partners

The podium buildings at the base of the towers consist of shops, cafes and restaurants along with the narrow human-scaled streets and shaded terraces, which help in activating 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. While 20 per cent of the site is covered with lush but drought-tolerant landscape, more than 70 per cent of the species are native.

Lusail Towers are set to be completed ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Project Details

Name: Lusail Towers
Location: Qatar
Building Area: 35,500 sqm
Design: Foster + Partners

(Text by Nikitha Sunil, intern at STIRworld.com)

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