Case study

Masdar Institute of Science & Technology

Masdar Institute
Masdar Institute
Masdar Institute
Masdar Institute


Skylights & rooflights

Building type



Foster + Partners

Delivery Partner

Hunter Douglas




Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

About Masdar Institute of Science & Technology

Shading which exceeds sustainability targets

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology is a graduate level, research-oriented university which is focused on alternative energy, sustainability, and the environment. The building embodies the principles and goals of Masdar to create a prototypical and sustainable city and is the first building of its kind to be powered entirely by renewable solar energy. The Foster + Partners design incorporates a variety of passive and active environmental strategies.

The laboratories and residential accommodation are supported by a variety of social spaces, including a gymnasium, canteen, café, knowledge centre, majlis – or meeting place – and landscaped areas that extend the civic realm.

The control of light and heat were central to the sustainability strategy. Tensioned shading systems were specified on the more challenging glazed structures due to their ability to be discrete and elegant whilst also strong enough to cope with extreme temperatures under the intense desert sun.

Guthrie Douglas’ TESS™140 systems were installed in a very tight space on the roof glazing over the main sports hall. We were involved in the project from a very early stage which meant we could integrate our systems into the complex surrounding structure to the point that they are invisible when retracted.

The development has been certified Gold rating by The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and has won the Environmentally Sustainable Built Project Award in the 2012 International Awards for Liveable Communities. The Royal Institute of British Architects also recognised the campus buildings with one of its international awards in 2011.

Does your building have sustainability challenges exacerbated by extreme weather conditions? Click here to read about our work on a Scandinavian office complex.

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