Contemporary Architecture

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture – Masdar Headquarters

About the firm

  • The firm was founded in 2006 by partners Adrian Smith, Gordon Gill and Robert Forest. Today there are more than 150 employees in offices in Chicago and Dubai.
  • The office is dedicated to the creation of new paradigms for sustainable development.
  • Design of high-performance, energy-efficient and sustainable architecture on an international scale.
  • Believe that the future of architecture relies not on a changing aesthetic but on the implementation of an integrated process, predicated on an equal understanding and consideration of each project discipline.

Adrian Smith

  • Adrian was a Design Partner in the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill from 1980 to 2003 and a Consulting Design Partner from 2004 to 2006.
  • Design approach emphasizes sensitivity to the physical environment.
  • Projects under his design direction have won over 90 major awards for design excellence
  • His work has been featured in major museums in the United States, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Gordon Gill

  • Prior to founding Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture in 2006, Gordon was an Associate Partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and a Director of Design for VOA Associates.

Robert Forest

  • Was an Associate Partner in the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill before 2006
  • A recognized authority on the economics of sustainable design,
  • combined his knowledge to develop a system of best practices for the management of high-performance projects.


  • Architecture has a unique power to influence civic life.
  • A holistic, integrated design approach that emphasizes symbiotic relationship with the natural environment–a philosophy termed
  • “Global Environmental Contextualism.“
  • Consider building orientation, day lighting, generation of wind power, solar absorption, and a site’s geothermal properties
  • Also represents a fundamental change in the design process, in which Form Facilitates Performance.
  • Create structures that not only reduce their negative environmental impact, but in some cases, virtually eliminate it altogether.
  • Interaction among building systems as well as between those systems and the natural environment, and seeks to improve each individual system’s performance.
  • To create designs that aid society, advance technology, sustain the environment and inspire those around to improve our world.
  • To create intelligent, high-performance, forward-looking designs that exhibit timeless and enduring qualities.
  • To support the clients in the realization of their visions, while delivering the highest standard of design in the international practice of architecture.


  • Matrix Gateway Complex
  • Elphinstone Mills + Jupiter Mills,Mumbai, India
  • Eco-Bridge,Chicago, Illinois
  • Wings Museum

Characteristic Features:

  • Be the lowest energy consumer per square meter for a modern class A office building in an extremely hot and humid climate
  • Compared with typical mixed-use buildings of the same size, the Headquarters will consume seventy percent less water.
  • Feature one of the world’s largest building-integrated photovoltaic arrays
  • Employ the largest solar thermal driven cooling and dehumidification system – the world’s lowest impact active building conditioning system
  • Be the first building in history to generate power and protect workers during the construction process through a staged construction
  • Will go beyond zero net energy,  will be the world’s first mixed-use, large scale positive energy building.
  • The building will utilize pioneering, never-before-seen technology in the creation of the aesthetically sound, functionally proficient and experientially superior development that will represent the city.
  • Numerous systems that will generate a surplus of the building’s energy, eliminate carbon emissions and reduce liquid and solid waste.
  • Inspired from the centuries of indigenous architecture, historically successful building strategies for the climate with the latest technology and innovative building systems, including some developed especially for the Masdar Headquarters.
  • For exterior walls, Smith and Gill have developed their own patent-pending glazing system to keep the building’s interior cool.
  • The facility also will be equipped with wind turbines, air quality sensors, and a thermal-driven cooling and dehumidification system
  • Sprawling canopy lined with photovoltaics, resting on 11 massive glass hyperboloids. Underneath the canopy, a series of interconnected volumes, topped by green roofs, provide space for offices, retail stores, and residences.
  • Sustainable and efficient from the beginning of construction- the building cones and roof can be built first, creating a shaded micro climate for the remainder of the construction and the roof, covered with photovoltaic panels, will provide enough power to build the rest of the building.

Some Structural Details:

  • Thornton Tomasetti
  • Upper Trellis: Top Chord Bracing


  • As a positive energy complex, the project will have a far-reaching influence on the buildings of tomorrow
  • Will set a new paradigm for the way buildings are designed, constructed and inhabited.
  • Represents the perfect integration of architecture and engineering, resulting in a dynamic, inviting building that outperforms any other structure of its type in the world.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5 thoughts on “Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture – Masdar Headquarters”

  1. Finally a decent Website that has some good info on it. Keep up the great job you’ve done on the site.

    Jack Handy – “If you go flying back through time and you see somebody else flying forward into the future, it’s probably best to avoid eye contact. – Deep Thoughts (Saturday Night Live)”


  2. Great Blog! This blog has been very interesting to me. Reading it makes me feel I am getting advice from a friend. Your way of writing made me feel very comfortable. I am anxious to start a blog, but very confused as to what to do. I feel a lot more motivated reading your rules before starting a blog.


  3. Modern solar-wind technologies in the world architecture. It is important that modern architecture has turned its attention to the latest technologies in renewable energy. Architectural bureau Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture is different in that it is the first time already in this century has used in the design of skyscrapers, such as Kingdom Tower is widely known in the past century construction technology of Solar Towers, producing clean energy. The first tower built Germany’s “Schlaich Bergermann und Partners” in 1980 in Spain. She was a pilot and produce only 50 kW of power with a turbine propeller type. Although it took after almost 40 years, and in recent years the government of leading European countries pay little attention to these technologies, many researchers have developed various concepts and tried to put them in Israel, Germany, Russia, USA, UK and Australia (see . Website: I received an inventor’s certificate vortex power plant in 1985, number 1319654. Technologies differ, but the essence of one – the ability to control air flow and benefit from this low-cost electricity. Artificial wind is good precisely because wind turbines are installed where power is constructed and the number of necessary capacity, at the same time the perception of the natural wind flow is possible only where they exist, at least for a year, known as the average measurement. The technology of the past century, although it has not been worked out for various reasons, including perhaps the hope of creating safe nuclear power plants in our time has lost its meaning as to pull the pipe air thermal power indefinitely in order to increase capacity is not economically feasible, but the use of a cyclone artificial air flow, allows you to set output at lower elevations with more compact dimensions. It is known that premium German Aerospace Society DLR scientists have for the experimental vortex installation height of only 12 meters which allows to get 10 kW of electrical energy from the rotating air flow in it. In principle, there are theoretical, but now and finite element analysis in the medium ANSYS, proving that the power of the vortex to reach 100 MW in power is possible at altitudes of up to 600 meters. This shows that the use of the world’s leading architects in the design of such technologies can be effective for the full energy-independent buildings. For example, to provide the very tall skyscraper Burj Khalifa in Dubai 820 meters to 5,000 kW of instantaneous power needed for this vortex power plant up to 300 meters, which is comparable with the height of the skyscraper. The main design problem and their co-release of an exclusive building based suppliers of renewable and not all the time rising in price of electricity will be ensured for a long time. PhD George Mamulashvili


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s