Once upon a time, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In the future, the hanging gardens included in the Dubai mixed-use development known as Park Gate (designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill) may be achieve similar renown. The project, which consists of six curving towers covered in a solar-powered canopy, features both hanging gardens and reflecting pools which act as thermal sinks.
Inspired by the Middle East’s ancient and modern souks, or open-air markets, Park Gate (which comes to us via Inhabitat) was conceived of as a place to rest, socialize and do business in the heart of Dubai. Mixing up private and business space with a cool and shady commons, the structure consists of a series of six towers placed in pairs and covered with a canopy. This canopy provides surface area for solar panels in this land of abundant sun, while providing a trellis for a more ancient type of solar collector: plants. The hanging gardens and trellises help to shade the ground below, reducing the temperature by an estimated 10-15 degrees.
The orientation of this development is key, as its proximity to water and directional siting minimize solar gain and maximize coastal breezes. This creates an outdoor space that feels remarkably temperate, without blasting AC outside, and reducing cooling costs for businesses year-round. Offices, retail spaces, and a hotel are all part of the plan in this high rise (37 stories on one side, 34 stories on the other) development, as are public reflecting pools and gardens protected by the buildings. From below the canopies are semi-permeable (70 percent closed, 30 percent open) to allow dappled light through to ground level.