MEP sector keeps afloat

Cityscape would not be Cityscape without its share of crazy concepts. MEP Middle East was particularly taken with Marina Housing’s “revolutionary concept” of – wait for it – floating ‘smart’ villas, unveiled at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The reasoning behind the idea? Well, if we are running out of space on land, an entire ocean is still available …
Have villa, will travel. Or, more correctly, float away.
By Gerhard Hope
Sun 10 May 2009 03:36 PM

Cityscape would not be Cityscape without its share of crazy concepts. MEP Middle East was particularly taken with Marina Housing’s “revolutionary concept” of – wait for it – floating ‘smart’ villas, unveiled at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The reasoning behind the idea? Well, if we are running out of space on land, an entire ocean is still available …

Just imagine the poor MEP contractor who has to sort out teething problems on an entire flotilla of villas. However, Marina Housing certainly sees the concept as a technological showcase, and is even aiming for a LEED Gold rating. One could even imagine RTA getting in on the act, plying such a development with water buses so as to help reduce its carbon footprint.

A comprehensive Lonix automation and security solution with ‘smart’ control and integration features will cut energy consumption drastically. Furthermore, Enervent ventilation with integrated energy recovery will slash the energy required for cooling by a staggering 80%. Energy-efficient insulation and windows, as well as indoor air filtration, are standard features.

The villas will be built on Marinetek heavy-duty concrete house pontoons. They will be anchored to the seabed with flexible Seaflex rubber cables, thereby allowing them to adjust to the water level, as well as enhancing safety in general. An added ‘green’ benefit is that the villas will essentially help to preserve the delicate coastline environment by not interfering with sea currents or, hopefully, marine ecosystems.

Not to mention that they will not require huge swathes of reclaimed land as a building foundation, though Palm Jumeirah and The World residents will likely turn up their noses at such a brash upstart in the ‘flagship’ project stakes. “The Marinetek brand enjoys dominant market share in Europe and the Middle East, with its successful completion of the 600 slip Anchor Marina on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, adding it to its portfolio of over 2 000 marina projects in 35 countries,” said Marinetek Group CEO Ilkka Seppala.

On a more serious note, Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2009 featured prominent MEP players such as Arup, Atkins, Ian Banham & Associates, Hydro Engineering Consultants, EC Harris Built Asset Consultancy and Burt, Hill.

The presence of these companies underlined the importance of essential infrastructure provision in major developments, and the key role played by the MEP sector in general in ensuring that sustainability and green design are incorporated as early as possible, right from the initial concept stage.

All these companies welcomed the slew of projects and developments unveiled at Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2009 as evidence of a strong pipeline of work extending well into the immediate future. So, it seems, that the tide of doom and gloom has finally begun to turn.

Gerhard Hope is the editor of Mechanical Electrical Plumbing Middle East.

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