The Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) announced today the winners of ‘Cool Abu Dhabi Challenge’, a global design competition aimed to attract creative ideas to tackle climate change and provide solutions for the urban heat island effect in significantly warmer areas of Abu Dhabi.

DMT, alongside industry-leading experts in sustainable design and architecture, have selected 10 of the most original and innovative prototypical design ideas for public spaces, which will help minimise the impact of climate change by reducing the urban heat island effect. The winning designs were selected based on their flexibility, forward-thinking, practicality to be placed across multiple sites in Abu Dhabi, long-term sustainability as well as their ability to substantially reduce  the urban heat island effect while taking into consideration Abu Dhabi’s socio-cultural context.

The competition was an open invitation to designers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, material fabricators, educators, researchers, students, artists and interdisciplinary teams.  Launched in February 2020, the competition attracted 1,570 participants from 67 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, India and Italy. Submission requirements included a 10-page presentation and a two-minute video. Some 338 entries met the criteria and were approved for consideration.

These designs demonstrated a high-level understanding of innovative engineering and science, which undoubtedly can be used to help combat climate change in the UAE

ENG. Essa Mubarak Al Mazroui, Executive Director of Municipal Infrastructure and Assets Sector

HE. Eng. Essa Mubarak Al Mazroui, Executive Director of Municipal Infrastructure and Assets Sector from Abu Dhabi City Municipality, said: “As part of our teams’ efforts to support sustainable urbanisation and climate intervention in public spaces, I am delighted to announce the winners of the ‘Cool Abu Dhabi’ competition. These designs demonstrated a high-level understanding of innovative engineering and science, which undoubtedly can be used to help combat climate change in the UAE. They will also help improve livability in Abu Dhabi, a key investment area of Ghadan 21, and promote the Emirate as a centre of innovation and a key player at the climate change scene. Enhancing the quality of lives for residents and ensuring their happiness is one of our top priorities, and initiatives such as provide an added value to the people of Abu Dhabi.”

Details of the winning projects:

"Leafy" is a dynamic concept that marries outdoor thermal comfort and public art by proposing a shade structure inspired by plants.


Leafy by Sinan Gunay, Nurhayat Oz, Irfan Ertis – Turkey

"Salt & Shades" uses waste salt from desalination as a desiccant to reduce humidity and improve outdoor thermal comfort through a creation of salt pounds and columns with fog net shade structures.

Salt and Shades

Salt & Shades by Dr. Ali Sedki, Dr. Neveen Hamza, Dr. Mostafa Khalifa, Dr. Mohammed Mahgoob and Eng. Mohammad Riad Al Halaby – Lebanon        

"Aquapods" is inspired by the biomimicry of Fenestraria plants to create a unique set of pods to provide optimal outdoor thermal comfort. Its highly reflective canopies fold at night to allow for night cooling, and adiabatic pots with nature protect the space from hot winds.


Aquapods by Luca Fraccalvieri, M.Eng. Luigi Fraccalvieri – Italy

“Sa'af Al-Nakheel” uses the traditional dried palm fronds, Areesh to create a comprehensive canopy and vertical walls filled with interwoven Areesh and courtyards filled with planting. Deploying water strategically to enhance comfort through evaporative cooling.

Sa'af Al-Nakheel

Sa'af Al-Nakheel by Amna AlHashimi – UAE

"Sky" is a playful canopy structure designed to intelligently capture the available sky throughout the year that is free of direct sun for thermal isolation to create an effective microclimate.


Sky by Marjan Ghobad – Germany

”PKSTH” is a landscape design to create a distinctive and almost forest-like spatial experience, aimed to achieve good thermal comfort and create a cooling microclimate.


PKSTH by Öznur Pınar ÇER, Danilo PETTA, Derya GENÇ, Tuğçe ÇER and Sarje NAGDA Wiesbaden – Germany

"Circadian Clouds" is an ephemeral, floating shade structure that is independent of infrastructure and utilities, to provide comprehensive shading to the space and building surfaces, as well as reduce direct and indirect radiation.


Circadian Clouds by Muhammad Obaid, Maha Khalil and Dana Hamdan – UAE

“Architecture of the Void” is a clever combination of traditional souks and courtyards, to achieve a good level of outdoor thermal comfort using the arcade to provide low angle shading, strong planting program including gaaf trees and roof gardens.

Architecture of the Void

Architecture of the Void by Lara Abi Saber, Michel Abi Saber and Sarah Abi Saber – Lebanon

"The Baths of Our Times" is a playful and reflective space focused on individual expression rather than a congregational space. Intelligently oriented to maximise the cooling potential of the space by blocking out the harsh western sun and northwestern winds.

Baths of our Times

Baths of Our Times by Daniel Czyszczoń – Poland

'Arqoob' creates a distinctive canopy structure that combines both vertical and horizontal shading with fog collection opportunities. This hanging canopy with variable depth, engages users below in imaginative ways such as acting as a swing.


Arqoob by Fatma Oualha – UAE

For further updates and details on the winning designs, or for more information on Cool Abu Dhabi’s 2021 edition of the competition, potential participants can visit