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Design and Execution of High Performance Facade Technologies for a Desert Climate

Date : 10-09-2014

Time : 6:30 pm


In 2007 Goettsch Partners (GP) won a limited competition for the design of a large A+ commercial office complex at the heart of Abu Dhabi’s new central business district on Al Maryah Island. The resulting project is comprised of 4 office towers between 31?37 stories that surround the new Abu Dhabi Exchange building, at the center of the complex. Due to the extreme coastal desert climate of Abu Dhabi the incorporation of high performance façade technologies into the designs for these buildings was an inherent mandate.

This presentation will focus on GP’s response to this mandate and examine in detail the added performance benefits achieved by the various active and passive façade systems incorporated into the designs for these buildings in comparison to standard curtain wall systems. The design development and detailing challenges encountered with these various high performance façade systems will also be addressed. In addition, the presentation will cover the challenges of realizing these complex enclosure systems from tender through completion in the emerging market environment of Abu Dhabi, UAE.


Learning Objectives:
•     Better understand the measurable benefits of both passive and active solar shading systems on a standard unitized curtain wall system.
•     Examine the design and enhanced performance benefits of a closed double skin façade system.
•     Discuss the additional performance testing requirements implemented during the mockup testing of the various high performance façade systems developed for the Sowwah Square project.
•     Review the real?world challenges and solutions implemented during the development of multiple façade systems divided between three different enclosure contractors on a fast paced International project.

Project Details:

5,698,000 sf / 529,360 sqm total

250,000 sf / 23,220 sqm retail
5,200 parking spaces

Towers 1+2
1,302,400 sf / 121,000 sqm office
31 stories

Towers 3+4
1,605,800 sf / 149,180 sqm office
37 stories

Stock Exchange
244,000 sf / 22,670 sqm
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange Headquarters

John Buck International
Mubadala Development Company

LEED?CS Gold Precertification


Speaker profile: Markus Klein is an Associate Principal at Goettsch Partners, Chicago, with responsibility for Architectural Design and Construction Administration.  Prior to joining Goettsch Partners, Markus Klein worked in Architectural Design at several companies, including Richard Meier and Partners, New York, and Jauss+Gaupp Architects, Germany. Notable are his four years as Project Architect for the Financial Center in Abu Dhabi with Goettsch Partners and his six years as Project Architect for the Zeppelin Museum, Friesdrichshafen, Germany with Jauss+Gaupp Architects. 

Markus Klein received a Masters Degree in Architecture from RWTH Aachen, Germany, in 1990.



Goettsch Partners (GP) is an innovative architecture firm with a global perspective,  emphasizing a singular  design approach across offices in Chicago, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. Focused on combining exceptional design, technical expertise and unmatched service, the firm creates measurable  value and environmentally responsible solutions. Services include architecture, interiors, planning and building enclosure design. Diverse projects around the world  share a consistent  emphasis on bringing bold design clarity to complex  challenges.


The firm has a total staff of 100, including architects, planners, interior designers and graphic designers. The firm also currently has 40 LEED Accredited  Professionals.

Corporate/Commercial:    Office Buildings, Corporate Headquarters  and Interiors
Hospitality/Residential:    Hotels, Apartments and Condominiums
Institutional:    Cultural, Governmental and Higher Education Facilities
Renovation:     Repositioning, Adaptive  Reuse and Restoration
Mixed-Use:     Office, Hotel, Residential and Retail Complexes

The firm is a Chicago-based company  with eight employee-owners and is registered  as an S-chapter corporation with the State of Illinois.  The board of directors  includes firm partners and three prominent business executives from outside the organization.

James Goettsch, FAIA James Zheng, AIA, LEED AP Steven M. Nilles, FAIA, LEED AP Michael F. Kaufman, AIA, LEED AP Joseph Dolinar, AIA
Lawrence C. Weldon, AIA

U.S. $1,000,000,000 (Annual Average)


224 South Michigan Avenue
Floor 17
Chicago, Illinois  60604 USA Phone: +1 312 356 0600
Fax:    +1 312 356 0601

336 Middle  Xizang Road
Plaza 336, Suite 2108
Shanghai 200001 China
Phone: +86 21 3330 3298
Fax:    +86 21 3330 3290

Abu Dhabi
Al Sila Tower, 7th Floor
Sowwah  Square, PO Box 52316
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Phone: +971 2 613 5100