In response to the United Arab Emirates’ vision to decrease their dependency on oil revenue by investing in urban infrastructure, SOM proposed an architectural device that would not only provide the programs required in the client’s brief, but would benefit the immediate surrounding area by “generating” a lush oasis within an arid climate. Designed to achieve self-sustainability without the use of fossil fuels, the Oasis Generator is a mixed-use tower that converts sea water into fresh water for irrigation. These multi-purpose structures could be deployed in phased developments, acting as landmarks that occupy strategic plots of currently undeveloped land. As gardens take hold around the Generator, additional towers would continue to fill in the new ecoscape.
The design process, like the technologies incorporated into the design, leveraged principles from nature to achieve optimal performance. Based on theories of evolution and natural selection, a design tool known as a genetic algorithm has the ability to efficiently search through a vast amount of information to find design solutions that perform well with respect to a specified goal. The form of the Oasis Generator evolved through a rigorous application of the genetic algorithm, which sought to balance energy goals, structural goals, constructability goals, programmatic goals, and aesthetic goals.
The tower core is to be constructed using an automatic climbing formwork system, while a steel outrigger truss with vertical cable stays climbs with the formwork, providing stability during construction. This temporary steel truss is later incorporated into the permanent system, providing required tie beams in the tower roof.