Dubai Tall Emblem

Architectural Concept

Dubai’s land developments have made a gate where reciprocity between many diverse international cultures flourishes. The tall emblem of the za’abeel park can be the expression of today’s vision of Dubai. As an urban viewpoint, the project’s site on the park seems to be a focal point between the new urban expansion of Dubai,Jumeira and Sheikh Zayed Road, and the older districts like BurDubai and Deira. These two qualities initiated the conceptual view in our minds to call the project the “Dubai Gate”.

   Considering the fact that the built form should refer to the history and identity of the region and that the Islamic art and culture in the Arab countries has to be observed, another two characteristics which are originated from the Islamic architecture are also based for the design concept.

1)    Arch and Vault; that have been considered as a major fact in the traditional Islamic architecture.

2)    Expanding Geometry; that is the foundation for the Islamic architecture in the form of fractal geometry or a kind of unity in plurality.                  

So the general structure of the design is formed on the base of an Arch, a self supporting shape. Through this idea, achieving two design aims becomes possible as below:

1)    Creating a town escape void through constructing a gate.

2)    Creating an urban platform of an urban scale underneath the arch.

Geometry and Morphology

The factors influencing the project’s geometry and plan morphology are derived majorly from not only the site’s geometry, its existing roads and focal points, but also the regional climate and wind-force.

In response to the former and for being very close to the Za’abeel Park’s entrance in 21-street, a strong axis is defined from this point to an area with the least probability of any changes on the existing park roads. However, with regards to the latter the north-west wind plays an important role in creating another major axis along this direction. Needless to say that the west and east side of the built form should have fewer surfaces blocking the sunlight. Thus a diamond shape is being formed on the ground floor plan that later generates the shape for the whole project.

 In addition, an ellipse is needed at the higher levels to cover three design factors:

a)    The elliptical plan for the view decking at top of the tower provides 360 degree panoramic view to the city.

b)      Its aerodynamic shape along the north-west direction reduces the wind force at top.

c)     The narrow corners of this shape in east and west side, that have sharper sunlight, reduce the absorbed heat.

The Simple Volume of the Gate

The architectural form concept is an integrated movement starting from the horizon, rising up and then sloping down to the ground ; being covered by an external shell and then creating an arch, in the form of a simple gate. This simple form is exactly what is necessary for a monumental building to be stuck in people’s mind. The whole volume is also composed of two major shells, the internal and external that their morphology are vice versa. They are being created from plan geometry that morphs from a diamond on the ground floor into the ellipse at top. The ground floor major body is built on the sides of that diamond, like two inscribed arms. In the external shell, the intersected sides of the diamond morph into the ellipse and create a smooth and aerodynamic volume with different perspectives; however the movement in the internal shell is morphing the ground floor curves into a small diamond at top to form the arch.

 By the appearance of the building general form, the space under the arch functions as an urban plaza. Its shape is derived from the expanding geometry concept. Then, one of the Plaza’s arms, which is toward the main entrance, is stretched out and creates a passage to the building.


As it was said above, the building’s structure is affected by the arch’s self supporting form that transfers the loads to ground through both arms. Here, both internal and external shells are performing as structure surfaces. They are two wings which are connected together at the ellipse after shaping the vault. The structural system is an integrated meshed network aligned with the diamond pattern on façade and is made of the pipe shape profiles.

Pattern on the complex

The main concept of the façade’s pattern is adapted from the Islamic fractal geometry that brings fluency and unity in the whole complex. The pattern units are diamond shape, the geometry which initiated the form. The characteristics of the pattern on external shell are as below:

1)    Increasing the volume transparency from down to up maximizes the top view to the city and the climatic control at down. Moreover, this combination provides the differences between the lighting qualities in day and night.

2)    Emphasizing on the eye level perspectives by the pitted modules that become gradually leveled at top to create a 3D elevation.

3)    Pattern modules play different roles in sustainability and climatic design viewpoints

a)    The air trap modules located at the higher levels pull the wind inside the tower’s arms, conduct toward the ground floor and then blow it out on the plaza’s fountains. This process is like a cooling system blowing fresh air on the platform’s open space.

b)    The solar cell modules are installed at the dome to provide the power for the complex.


It is clear that each diamond shape module is divided into smaller panels to not only create an elaborate Arabic taste on the façade, but also make the installation easier.

The internal shell’s pattern is also an elaborated diamond shape with a gradient from transparent to solid, in contrast with the external ones.

In overall, the diamond shape pattern seems to be like divergent modules initialized from the building’s head and then spreading down on the volume and then on the landscape and finally become larger and fade near the site boundaries.


The complex circulation is divided into two sections; one explains the circulations on the ground and another is inside the building.

a)    On the landscape, visitor’s movement to the building is through two major passages. One of them is on the ground level, moving directly from the park’s entrance to the platform where the elevators are located to lift people up. In addition a ramp is connected to the platform that turns around the back court yard, moving from the platform to the underground. Another one is like a steep yard that leads from the entrance to the podium where the functional sections are designed. Needless to say that there is a parking ramp behind the building that opens to the 6th street.There are also two other passages on the designed landscape that connects the building to the existing sidewalks.

b)    The second circulation is the interior one. In line with the project’s concept, the arch’s two arms provide the vertical circulation within themselves.

There are two lifts in each wing with a panoramic view to the city from one side, and a sophisticated view to the interior space in south-east wing from another side. Lifts also have a three dimensional movement align with the arch’s wings which creates a different experience from moving through out a structural space. One of the lifts group stops at the underground level and opens in front of the conference halls; and there is also an emergency staircase set at the north-west wing. At top there is a view decking in two stories that the latter has a coffee shop.


The project has a podium at the underground level which consists of a children’s library, two conference halls for 100 persons and other necessary spaces. A parking area for 30 cars is also located beside the podium with direct access to the conference lounge; however there is a vent space between them.










320 sq. m.

View Decking

670 sq. m.

Conference Halls

380 sq. m.

Coffee Shop

150 sq. m.

Podium total area

1050 sq. m.




The general circulation is designed in a way that separates the view decking visitors from users who come for the library and conference halls through two different entrance passages. 

Architects Hooman balazadeh - Newsha Mirzai
Location Dubai - Zabeel Park
Date 2008
Project Managet Newsha Mirzai
Collaborator And team Avin Kamangar Poor - Sara Bahreini - Ali Hedayati