SWA Group adapts native flower to design of Burj Khalifa's 11-hectare grounds
Visitors are often awe-struck by Burj Khalifa’s sheer height, but the vision for the entire development is what’s often missed.
Designed by SWA Group in collaboration with building-architect SOM and other teams, the 11-hectare (27-acre) green oasis of parks, pools and promenades provides a beautiful and highly-functional framework to the just-unveiled world's tallest tower. The landplan adopts the same imagery of the highrise's own inspiration, the Hymenocallis spider lilly, in the extensive pedestrian promenades, transportation approaches, 9 hectares (8 acres) of greenspace, and 6 water features including a 4,400 sq m (1-acre) water garden cascading from the highrise into an adjacent lake. In fact, as part of the project's sustainability components, over 15 million gallons of water a year will be recycled from the tower’s cooling equipment for the extensive landscaping throughout its surrounding, also called Downtown Burj Dubai.
The landscape plan included a complete redesign of the 3.5 kilometer length of Emaar Boulevard that connects all major Dubai destinations including the Burj. The tree-lined streets and pedestrian-friendly adjacent commercial areas are intended to establish a world-class street on par with the Champs-Elysees, Park Avenue or the Ramblas.
"In implementing Emaar Properties vision, we felt the ultimate success of this project is dependent on how it serves the occupants, visitors and the general population of the region,” said John Wong, Managing Principal for SWA Group. “The ground level success aims to integrate this tall structure with the community and its surrounding neighborhoods and more importantly to create a project that will be globally-celebrated and locally used.”
Fountains, palm-fringed walkways and flowering trees line the base with special entry roads leading to the hotel and residential arrival courts. Each walkway has an assorted mix of flowering trees, green shrubs and ground covers. Tightly spaced double rows of date palms create shade and scale, and extend as a green colonnade towards the Emaar Boulevard.
Along with SWA and SOM, key participants in the effort include WET, the designers of The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain; Fisher Marantz Stone (lighting), Speirs & Major (festival lighting), Sinclair Knight Merz (security systems), Pelton Marsh Kinsella International (acoustics and ELV systems), Square Peg Design (signage), Hyder Consulting (civil and structural design) and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (the gatehouses and Armani/Pavillion).