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