Design for plaza of Abu Dhabi's new sustainable city uses flower-like structures that store heat by day for release at night

Architect LAVA has been chosen to design the central plaza for the $20bn sustainable-city project Masdar in Abu Dhabi.

LAVA's design features giant umbrellas, inspired by sunflowers, which will provide moveable shade in the day while storing up heat, then close and release heat at night.

LAVA director Chris Bosse said: “The sunflower principle is eco-friendly and can be adapted to anywhere in the world – it opens opportunities for outside living, even in the desert.”

The city centre includes a plaza, a five-star hotel, a long-stay hotel, a convention centre and entertainment complex and retail facilities.

Masdar, which is aimed to be the world's most sustainable city, is due for completion in 2016.

LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture) was founded in 2007 and has offices in Sydney, Stuttgart and Abu Dhabi.

Sunflower structures releasing the heat at night
At night the sunflower structures release the heat gathered by day