UAE building façades become tools of communication

UAE building façades become tools of communication
The UAE's Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, a Lindner project, is an example of how faades can communicate architectural messages.
Published: 6 September 2018 - 4:06 a.m.
By: Neha Bhatia

The use of façades as promotional tools is not unheard of – from traditional billboards to contemporary 4K screens, building exteriors have long been considered effective mediums for advertising. However, in the Middle East – and specifically Dubai, home of the world’s tallest building – developers are moving beyond advertising to use façades as communication tools.

This June, Burj Khalifa became the world’s tallest live scoreboard, broadcasting football match updates. The façade of the world’s tallest building was used to display the Football Live Scoreboard, which relayed the scores of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia matches on its LED screen until the tournament’s final fixture on 15 July. In addition, the screen featured the flag of the goal-scoring country. 

At the time of its launch in 2010, 28,261 glass cladding panels were reported to have made up the exterior of Burj Khalifa and its two annexes. Access to the tower’s exterior for window washing and façade maintenance was provided by 18 permanent track and fixed telescopic, cradle equipped, building maintenance units. 

Burj Khalifa’s façade is a critical part of the building’s recognisable exterior, and has often contributed to the tower’s achievement of world records. For instance, Burj Khalifa holds a Guinness World Record for hosting the largest light and sound show on a single building. 

The light and sound show measured 109,252m² and was achieved by developer Emaar on 1 January, 2018, as part of a New Year’s Eve show that combined lighting, lasers, an LED screen, sound, 
and fountains.

Façades are also a critical aspect of the messages embedded in architecture designs. One example of this is the UAE’s Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, the façade of which was designed by Lindner Façades. According to the German firm, the “aesthetic treatment of the stadium represents a modern facility combined with the traditional cultural elements”. The stadium’s façade design combines the local palm tree with a ‘palm bowl’ concept. Lindner Steel and Glass (LSG) was awarded a contract to design, manufacture, and install the stadium’s façade system within a six-month period. 

Describing the work implemented for Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on its website, Lindner says: “LSG developed a unitised concept for the diagrid façade package by implementing parametric design criteria. These were generated by in-house software for the detailing and manufacturing of individual façade elements, which are comprised of straight members and 3D cross-connectors.”

LSG said this approach allowed it to bolt together pre-manufactured and finished lightweight elements. This was implemented on site and “with minimum equipment requirements”. 

Design philosophies will continue to have a major influence on façade designs. However, as the Middle East’s major cities transform into retail hubs, it is likely that façades will soon be more than just building envelopes in the years to come.  

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