Lusail Towers is a landmark project in Qatar, envisioned as the catalyst for a new central business district in the city with a distinctive collection of four high-rise buildings. The 1.1 million-square-metre development will host the headquarters for the Qatar National Bank, Qatar Central Bank and Qatar Investment Authority alongside several other global organisations including Qatari Diar, while creating a new downtown district that is sensitive to the climate and linked to a new transportation hub.
The project is part of a larger masterplan also designed by Foster + Partners, which is being completed ahead of the 2022 Football World Cup in Qatar. The design of the towers and the podium buildings was influenced by climate, creating an intimate human-scale streetscape while responding to the city on an urban scale. Foster + Partners carried out the architectural and environmental design alongside Structural and MEP engineering for the entire project. The practice’s unique integrated design approach was crucial in delivering a complex project within a demanding fast-track schedule.
The team deployed an in-house software system called ‘Hermes’ that coordinates design data for the project and facilitates sharing of this data in real time across different applications, disciplines, organisations and locations around the world. Using specially created plugins for the different software applications, design changes made by one group would automatically and instantly be available to the digital models being used by others. Located at the end of the grand boulevard that links the new football stadium to the corniche, the two taller towers stand at 70 storeys, while the other two are 50-storeys-high, all arranged symmetrically around a central plaza.
The tower façades – clad in marine-grade aluminium – are designed in response to the sun with projecting profiles that wrap around the building, shading the glazing from the harsh sun, while preserving views out and daylight. The active systems design proposals include centralised thermal storage using innovative phase change materials 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 which contribute to reducing the site energy demand by 35%.
In response to the increasing water scarcity in the region, grey water, rainwater and condensate is recycled and reused on-site for irrigation and toilet flushing, significantly reducing the demand for potable water. The Lusail Plaza Towers development targets 4 stars in the regional Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS). At the base, several podium buildings surround each tower, with shops, cafes and restaurants that help animate 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. 20% of the site is covered with lush but drought-tolerant landscape, where more than 70% of the species are native. Inspired by the learnings from the region, the narrow human-scaled streets and shaded terraces create an inviting public realm at ground level, with the building blocks arranged around courtyards that capture cooling breezes. Source and image Courtesy of Foster + Partners.