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MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

United Arab Emirates Architecture News - Nov 14, 2019 - 14:25   9871 views

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

Dubai-based architecture studio MEAN* (Middle East Architecture Network) has unveiled its design proposal for Sabeel 2020 - Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

Sabeel 2020 was launched as a programme that sets out to produce uniquely and innovatively designed drinking water fountains for the Expo 2020 Dubai site and its legacy. The designs were planned to built in Dubai’s Jebel Ali site of Expo 2020.

In response to the brief of the competition, MEAN* has proposed a self-sufficient and technologically-advanced design, taking a "biomimetic" approach to the core of the project.

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

"Water is a vital element of nature. A replenishing life-source; the need for water equally binds all living forms, cultures, ages, and localities. As Dubai’s Expo 2020 plans to attract millions of global visitors, the task of providing fresh drinkable water becomes a crucial part of planning the World’s Fair," said MEAN*. 

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

"Sabeel" water fountains have always been an integral part of the urban fabric of cities in the region. Providing refuge from the heat, and means of giving back to the community. Public waterfountains are an example of hospitality that the United Arab Emirates is famous for. With this in mind, we designed a water fountain for Expo 2020 that represents those aspirations and ideals." 

"We believe that the water fountain of the future has to work with the challenges of a harsh arid environment to its advantage, to evolve on the ingenuity of the past with the innovation of the present for the longevity towards a sustainable future."

"Our proposal for Expo 2020 Water Fountain combines the advances of new technology with the inclusivity and hospitality of the United Arab Emirates," added the firm. 

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

The architects described the project as "learning from nature"

Dubai’s Jebel Ali site of Expo 2020 is challenged by hot and humid weather. The desert climate on the site provides challenges for the design of the Sabeel 2020 water fountain. 

MEAN*'s proposal for Sabeel 2020 takes a "biomimetic" approach to observing living forms of the desert, learning from how these organisms cope with the harsh environment to use the challenges of the weather to their advantage. The Namibian Desert beetle, for example, condenses humidity from air on the cool surface of its back, channels that water and uses it to nourish itself. Similar to the desert beetle, the studio's proposal for Sabeel 2020 uses a technology called "Atmospheric Water Generation".

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

The mechanism developed by GENAQ harvests drinkable water from humid air. The Aloe Vera Cactus evolved into a spiraling geometry called the "Phyllotaxis" which allows for the shielding of the plant from exposure to harsh sunlight, therefore protecting its water content from depletion through evaporation. 

The architects used these geometric principles to design their fountain: 12-brushed Aluminum sinks spiral around a central stainless steel structure, and foldout to provide sinks for water channeling. Once opened, water flows out of the 3D printed sprout faucets, made from polymers of recycled water bottles.

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

The structure makes water from thin air

MEAN* designed a water fountain that harvests precipitation from humid air and provides clean, fresh water. The process is sustainable and efficiently transforms an abundant challenging environmental challenge into a valuable resource. The water fountain the studio designed is self-sufficient and looks at examples from nature for its self-sufficiency. Water from the condensing system supplements the water drawn from filtered, chilled DEWA pipes, reducing the amount of water drawn from the Dubai Water and Electrical Authority pipes.

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

East elevation

MEAN* embraces principle of water for everyone

The design of the Sabeel 2020 provides a swivel mechanism that rotates the fountain’s sinks, making them accessible at different heights. The design allows for inclusivity of people of all ages, heights and physical abilities to get access to clean water. The sinks are equipped with facets that draw water from the storage containers to provide chilled, fresh water at all times. Alternatively, the fountain mechanismallows for opening the sinks at once, in a dramatic blooming sequence, resembling a natural, iconic form. In its closed state, the fountain is sculptural and reflects the environment around it on its metallic surface.

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

North elevation

The fountain has a self-cleaning system

The sink mechanism allows the fountain to remain clean from dust and other pollutants. Given the harsh nature of the arid site and the frequent sandstorms in the UAE, the retractable sink system protects the fountain from damage, extending the life of the fountain and the longevity of its elements. Excess water cleans the sinks from any pollutants. 

Sabeel 2020 water fountain uses cutting edge, innovative technologies, to envisage a new prototype of water fountains that speak to the cultural and ecological identity of the UAE, bringing people together to the aspirations of Dubai Expo 2020 of connecting minds, creating the future.

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

Inspirational diagram

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

MEAN* releases its technologically-advanced Sabeel 2020 Water Fountain for Dubai Expo 2020

MEAN* also released its design proposal for modular Barjeel Art Foundation Museum in Sharjah. MEAN*, founded by architect, entrepreneur and researcher Riyad Joucka, is an innovative architecture practice that works at the nexus of design and emergent technologies.

All images © MEAN*

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