HDR completes new office inspired by the Kandura
This headquarters was completed in June 2011 to reflect the important role of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority in Dubai's transition to a knowledge-based economy. Designed to be easily recognisable, and express the TRA's mission and brand, the office building is wrapped in a luminescent 'skin' that protects it from the harsh sun.
The design concept for the skin comes from a typical white Arab garment, the kandura; the wrap envelops the 'body' or volume of the building without touching the ground. The cladding is appropriate to the arid climate, and expresses its purpose simply and elegantly.
Situated on a tight urban site characterised by low-rise buildings, the new headquarters provides a new working environment for employees, with flexible space to allow for changing project teams and individual privacy. Informal and formal gathering areas are strategically located to encourage communication, and the ground floor contains a spacious lobby, with the office floors 'floating' above. Three levels of below-grade parking complete the facility.
The butt-glazed curtainwall façade has a ceramic frit pattern that is 'solar-tuned' so that each face responds to its specific orientation. Taking cues from the local architecture, particularly the use of shaded, interior courtyards, the design separates the building cores and pulls them to the perimeter to create a single large interior space.
The building is orientated so that these core masses block the strong western and eastern sun while still permitting a diffused light to permeate the translucent skin. The deep open-floor plan is penetrated by a glass atrium that provides a controlled source of natural light into the heart of the building and enhances air circulation. Ventilation is provided by operable windows from the flanking spaces into the atrium, similar to how a wind tower performs in traditional Arabic architecture. Modern technologies are woven into the facility, including under-floor distributed air and electrical systems, to provide a flexible work environment.