Urban Dunes

Best Project of Public Building or Facility

About the project
Urban Dunes is a project which envisions a future solution to reduce the heat island effect for an extreme climate such as Abu Dhabi’s, where the harsh conditions felt across significant months of the year reduce the feasibility of normal external activities. The Italian design firm Barberio Colella Architetti, with architect Angelo Figliola, have elaborated a design proposal that started from the deep awareness of the climatic context of Abu Dhabi's and Emirates’ traditional architecture, such as elegant vaulted spaces, vernacular shading devices, and cold-water basins. The main architectural idea behind the project is to ideally lift up a thick layer of sand to create an urban “oasis”, which mixes passive and low-tech active systems to maximize the outdoor thermal comfort calculated with the UTCI index. The vault is composed of several blocks made of 3D printed sandstone, using the local sand as a primary material. The sand is made solid by using binder jetting technology.

Abu Dhabi, the UAE

Project design year

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Additional information

Applicant and authors of the project
Barberio Colella Architetti.
 award-winning architectural, interior and furniture design firm based in Bari (Italy) and leads by Dr Micaela Colella and Dr Maurizio Barberio. The studio deals with the development of innovative concepts in which the design approach is focused on finding new architectural design strategies based on high sustainability and reversibility, appropriate use of materials and building technologies, tectonic innovation, romantic visions and cutting-edge design.
Architects Maurizio Barberio and Micaela Colella (Barberio Colella Architetti) + Angelo Figliola

Other participants
The project has been awarded by an Honorary Mention at the Cool Abu Dhabi Challenge, an international design competition hosted by Abu Dhabi's Department of Municipalities and Transport. The competition was an open invitation to designers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, material fabricators, educators, researchers, students, artists and interdisciplinary teams, to design creative ideas to tackle climate change and provide solutions for the urban heat island effect in Abu Dhabi.