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The urban development of Dubai in the past decade has provided a gate for many international cultures to flourish and interact. The new icon of the za’abeel park can be the expression of today’s vision of Dubai. This project is located at a focal point between the new urban expansion of Dubai, Jumeirah and Sheikh Zayed Road, and the older districts like Bur Dubai and Deira. These two factors initiated the concept of the “Dubai Gate”.
Inspired by the cultural and historical identity of the Arab World, the initial concept was created based on two main characteristics, the Arch and the Expanding Geometry, both of which are fundamental elements of the Islamic Architecture. Therefore, the overall structure is formed by a self-supporting arch, enabling two design aims:
Creation of a void as the viewpoint of the city
Creation of an urban platform underneath the arch
Geometry and Morphology
Factors influencing form and plan morphology are derived not only from the site geometry and its existing roads and focal points, but also the regional climate and wind-force.
In order to be close to the Za’abeel Park entrance, a strong axis is defined from this point to an area with the least probability of any changes on the existing park roads.
However, the north-west wind creates another major axis along this direction. The west and East sides of the building should have fewer surfaces exposed to sunlight. Thus a diamond shape is formed on the ground floor which later generates the shape of the project.
In addition, an ellipse was used at the higher levels to cover three design factors:
a) The elliptical plan of the observation platform at the top of the tower provides 360 degree panoramic view to the city.
b) The aerodynamic shape along the north-west direction reduces the wind force at top.
c) The narrow corners on the east and west sides with sharper sunlight exposure reduce the amount of absorbed heat.
The volumetric concept of the project consists of an integrated movement starting from the horizon, rising up and then sloping down to the ground. The simplicity of the form is a necessity in making a monumental building which remains in people’s minds.
The volume is composed of two major shells, the interior and the exterior, with opposing morphologies. These shells were created from a plan geometry that morphs from a diamond on the ground floor into an ellipse at the top.
On the external shell, the diamond morphs into the ellipse and creates a smooth and aerodynamic volume. On the other hand, the movement in the internal shell is morphing the ground floor curves into a small diamond at the top to form the arch. The space under the arch functions as an urban plaza and is shaped according to the concept of the expanding geometry. One of the arch arms is stretched out to create a passage to the building.
As mentioned above, the structure is affected by the self-supporting form of the arch which transfers loads to the ground through both arms. Both the internal and the external shells perform as structural surfaces forming two wings which are connected together at the ellipse after shaping the arch. The structural system is a consistent mesh network aligned with the diamond pattern on the façade and is made of pipe shaped profiles.
Pattern on the complex
The concept of the patterned facade is adapted from the Islamic fractal geometry, bringing fluency and unity to the entire complex. In harmony with the initial geometry, this pattern is formed by diamond shaped modules, featuring the following characteristics:
1) Increasing transparency from bottom up to maximize the view to the city and to control the climatic condition at the base.
2) Emphasizing on the eye level perspectives provided by the modules which gradually levels at the top to create a 3D elevation.
3) The modules play various roles in sustainability and climate control aspects of the project, including:
The air trap modules at the higher levels act as a cooling system which pulls the wind from the tower arms toward the ground floor and blows it out on the plaza’s fountains.
Solar cell modules are installed at the dome to provide power for the complex.
Each of these modules is divided into smaller panels which not only creates an elaborate Arabic taste on the façade, but also makes the installation easier. The internal shell is also formed by diamond shaped modules ranging from transparent to solid. In general, the patterns act as divergent modules initiated at the top, spreading down on the volume and the landscape, and eventually fading near the site boundaries.
The circulation through the complex is divided into two sections (horizontal and vertical), representing movement on the ground and inside the building respectively:
There are two main paths leading to the building. The first one is located at the ground level connecting the park entrance to the elevators on the interior platform (There is also a ramp turning around the back of the building connecting the platform to the basement.).
The second path is a sloped yard extending from the entrance to the podium where the functional sections are located. The parking ramp is located at the back of the building and there are two other passages that connect the building to the existing sidewalk.
The two wings of the arch is the platform for the vertical circulation through the building. There are two sets of elevators in each wing with a panoramic view to the city on one side, and a view to the interior spaces on the other side. These lifts have a three dimensional movement aligned with the shape of the wings creating a unique experience for the users. One of the elevators stops at the basement level and opens in front of the conference hall. The emergency staircase is set at the north-west wing and there is an observation platform and a coffee shop at the top two floors of the build
Hooman balazadeh - Newsha Mirzai
Dubai - Zabeel Park
Collaborator And team
Avin Kamangar Poor - Sara Bahreini - Ali Hedayati