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Aqua Cruise Tower, a USD 110 million hotel, modelled after a traditional Gulf ship will utilise modern technology to recycle surrounding sea water and conserve energy.

October 2015

Paying tribute to historical forms and traditional cultures, Aqua Cruise Tower in the Waterfront District of Lusail City, Qatar, will stand to be the Middle East’s first sustainable, mixed-use hospitality development when it is completed.

Ambitious plans are already underway to create the USD 110 million smart, high-performance development. Father of the project’s design, Issam Ezzeddine, Design Director at NEB (National Engineering Bureau), believed from the outset that the hotel had to be different from any other hospitality development in the Middle East, so together with a team of engineers and scientists they created a design modelled on sustainable wellbeing.


Four months ago, NEB’s Ezzeddine was approached by developers to design a luxurious and high-performance hotel on par with international standards. He went to work on the design after being inspired by the historical ‘Al Boom’ ship, one of the more famous local ships used in sea trade and pearl diving in the Arabian Peninsula.

“As architects, we have to assign a character and an identity to an idea. From the beginning I needed to have a project that was historically linked to Qatar and the GCC countries. Once the identity of the project was established, it was essential to link it with sustainable technology,” says Ezzeddine.

The external envelope of the tower was inspired by the Islamic and Middle Eastern culture and a through a combination of traditional and modern architecture styles, the design concept of the hotel was born.

While negotiations for a hotel operator are still ongoing, the hotel has garnered significant interest. Scheduled for completion over the next five to seven years, in time for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, the Tower will house approximately 330 guestrooms, suites and sky villas and will also include retail and office facilities as well as an Aqua park.


Ezzeddine was set on creating the design for the hotel with sustainability in mind at the initial stage as opposed to an add-on after construction.

The building consists of double glazing high insulation façade to optimise exposure to direct solar rays.

“We have a passive cooling system inspired by the GCC traditional cooling system Al Barajeel in order to isolate the excessive heat and sunlight. The air temperature was reduced by the cooled water fall in the podium level. This air movement reduces the cooling loads needed to reach the comfort zone for building users. Reducing cooling load led to enhance energy efficiency of the project,” says Ezzeddine.

The building management system will be equipped with a weather station, which will monitor and control temperature, and an irrigation and domestic water system to optimise thermal comfort and indoor air quality, while conserving energy and water.

“Sea water will go through three stages of filtration. We will use the sea water for irrigation, domestic use such as plumbing and the third phase will be safe for consumption. This is one of the major cost savings; utilising sea water,” he says.

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