DAR Smart Village Headquarters

Dar Al-Handasah

Cairo, Egypt

Project Info
DAR Smart Village Headquarters
Cairo, Egypt
Completion Date: 2011
Square Footage: 42,300 sm

A new workplace that will enable innovation, infuse staff with a sense of belonging, allow flexibility and change, and promote collaboration throughout the organization.

Dar al-Handasah, an international engineering and architectural firm, is consolidating all of its offices currently scattered throughout Cairo. The new 42,300 GSM headquarters, located approximately 15 miles outside downtown Cairo in the Smart City high-tech office park, will provide work and amenity space for approximately 2000 employees, including the company's Global Executive Leadership. The project is targeting LEED-NC Gold.

The six floors of the building are approximately 4000 GSM each and the below-grade parking consists of three levels. To maintain such a large floor plate while maximizing daylighting penetration and views, the team folded the building upon itself and designed a large glass atrium that draws in natural light from both the interior and exterior perimeter walls. To increase daylight penetration, the six-story atrium has a west-facing glass wall and skylights.

Although these elements promote heat gain, the atrium is designed as a thermal buffer between the exterior climate and the conditioned climate of the building. The skylights double as operable passive ventilation and to further enhance comfort in the space, the monumental stair is surrounded by a six-story water wall that removes condensation from the air and cools the space through evaporation. The monumental stair has a heliostatic chandelier that drives daylight deep into the building core and is also a visual focus in the atrium space.

The warm climate of Cairo creates the challenge of reducing overall energy demands. The unique triangular shape of the building minimizes direct eastern and western exposure, which present the largest energy and comfort challenges. A vertical shading system is also used to shade approximately 75% of the building at over 50% of the total surface area.

The upper floor of the building is net-zero demonstration space that utilizes sustainable elements integrated into the architecture. The rooftop event space is covered with 1000 SM of photovoltaic panels that gather solar energy while simultaneously acting as a shading device. The combined sustainable strategies result in an approximate 26% energy reduction over the ASHRAE 90.1