The design of O-14 fundamentally shifts away from the current architectural norm in Dubai building design, by not employing the now ubiquitous curtain wall solutions and above-ground parking which have typified new developments in the area. Instead the architects have favoured a shade-producing, concrete load-bearing shell and an open public space at the tower base, achieved through employing a below ground parking solution. The design element that provides the O-14 with its individual look is a forty centimetre-thick concrete shell, interspersed with over a thousand openings that create a lace-like effect on the buildings façade. Chief architect for the project, Jesse Reiser states that they wanted something original, which would “turn the normative idea of a tower literally inside out…we discarded the idea of a typical Dubai structure early on.”
In order to achieve this, the designers cast super-liquid concrete around the original steel meshwork of the building before removing the thousand or so fill-ins, thus giving the tower its distinctive perforated shell. These perforations help serve as a solar screen to the occupants of the tower, and a one-metre gap between the O-14’s concrete shell and its main enclosure will create a ‘chimney effect,’ causing hot air to rise and creating an efficient passive cooling system.
With the O-14 due to open in Spring 2009, Jesse Reiser feels that the finished building will reflect the main objective of creating a unique take on traditional Dubai architecture, “we looked at traditional Islamic architecture but wanted to use that as inspiration, rather than copy it, and to try and intertwine the decorative and the practical.”