Running at just five-and-a-half minutes, this micro film makes the IRENA HQ design story easy to grasp.

18 Dec 20

Building a Better Future – designing a clean energy hub in a desert climate

Not far from Abu Dhabi, in one of the world’s most extreme climates, you will find Masdar which aims to be the world’s most sustainable city. Masdar is home to the International Renewable Energy Agency Headquarters (IRENA HQ). Designed by Woods Bagot, this clean energy building is a blueprint for sustainable urban development in a challenging climate.

IRENA HQ is the subject of a short film in the ‘Building a Better Future’ series produced by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions. Presented by the World Green Building Council, the series of short films explores green buildings and how sustainably conscious design positively impacts on the quality of people’s lives.

IRENA is an intergovernmental organization that promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy. The sustainably-designed headquarters serves as an emblem to the work that happens within.

“It’s a low energy building in a desert climate. It uses around 42 percent less energy than a comparable building, and 50 percent of water demand.”

Richard Fenne, Woods Bagot Principal and Project Design Leader

Artists Impression – MC² Office Plots Development

“We have to make sure that sustainable design embraces the commercial world of development and vice versa. Only in this way are we able to combat the negative effects of climate change.”

Chris Wan, Sustainable Real Estate Masdar, Head of Design Management

The IRENA HQ is one of the first buildings constructed in Masdar, an innovative masterplanned city modelled as an eco-system for sustainable urban growth.

Completed in 2015, it is a highly sustainable Four Pearl Estidama-rated commercial building embodying four pillars of sustainability: social, environmental, economic, and cultural. In the challenging climate of the UAE our team was tasked with designing a landmark project within Masdar City intended as a model for sustainable commercial buildings globally.

With our client Masdar, Woods Bagot is committed to creating a sustainable, resilient legacy for future generations. The IRENA HQ reflects the dedication of the entire project team to designing sustainably for positive returns to the asset owners, the users of the building, and the world around us.

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