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Large-Scale Building Integrated Wind Turbines in the
Bahrain World Trade Center

Manama, Bahrain accommodates The Bahrain World Trade
Center (BWTC), which is a 240m (787ft) high twin commercial office tower
complex. The towers are the epicenter of a masterplan to renew a 5* hotel and a
shopping mall, which exist on a very famous area of Manama, with view the
Arabian Gulf in the downtown central business site.

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The long established Arabian ”Wind Towers”
influenced the form of the Bahrain World Trade Center buildings in the sense
that the buildings take advantage of the undistracted serene breeze from the
Gulf, giving a renewable source of energy for the new masterplan.

The towers are famous for their tremendous
architecture that imitates an ancient Arabian ”wind tower” design. However,
the most important part that makes the BWTC so special and distinguishes from
the others is its status as the first commercial building, which combines three
large-scale wind turbines in its design. Additionally, the turbines are able to
produce an important part of the building’s total electricity required each
year.

How the Project Came About

 

Atkins’ Chief Architect, Shaun Killa, pushed the idea
for this modern design solution and the Client easily embraced the concept to
show to the world that Bahrain is open to options, which can decrease the
demand on fossil fuel energy and will push in a more sustainable direction,
urban and building design in desert climates.

The integration of large scale wind turbines in a building
structure is complex and needs to be taken seriously as the Client wishes to
benefit from this project with the knowledge and experience collected from the
people working their and then create teams, which will operating in a global
manner.

As many architects around the world, so does the
Atkins, crated team in the Middle East, which examines innovative design
solutions promoting sustainability and have explored the use of integrated wind
turbines on a number of previous projects. The Arabian Gulf with its most
important characteristic, sea breeze, the wind climate contributes to the
exploitation of wind energy and let designers to move away from the old
traditional solutions and think about the unidirectional wind turbine as a
choice, which are suitable for the integration of large-scale buildings.

Atkins made a research, which provides that the
large-scale integration of wind turbines in projects mainly fails due to the
extreme costs connected with the adjustment of the building’s design, and the
development costs for special turbines which are also excessive. This project
seems to have its basis of design, in the use of conventional technologies and
the development of a built form, which would be pleasant to receive wind
turbines. The premium on this project, with the wind turbines included, was
less than 3.5% of the whole project’s value.

Atkins and a team full of world best technologists,
with the advantage of a favorable wind climate and a design theory that keeps
low turbine R&D / building costs, made a step further with the design and
provide the main issues of:

• Producing technically viable solutions;

• Balancing energy yield / benefit with
investment

2. As a chief architect responsible for the design
of the Bahrain World Trade Center, can you describe the challenges faced by you
in designing this state-of-the-art structure?

The existing Bahrain World Trade Center shows the
previous technological methods that set out new standards in sustainable
design.

It is really important to bear in mind that for
anything new and innovative, you should expect obstacles along the way. This is
the reason why Rambøll and Atkins, during the construction and the
establishment of the wind turbines recognized and solved a lot of potential technical
issues. One of them was vibration, and they managed to solve this by putting
rubber bearings at the end of the bridges.

Another challenge that their global engineering team
managed to deal with was the lifting of three wind turbines 68 tonnes each, and
three bridges 11 tonnes each. The cure for this was a 270m crane, which was
applied between the towers to solve this problem.

Nevertheless, after all the challenges we faced none
of them was big enough to be unable to solve it. Due to the great teamwork and
some very intelligent engineering, we managed to build up a project that is a
true success.

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