A new look for Dubai

Niki May Young
Thursday 02 Oct 2008

O-14 Tower introduces innovative design to Dubai’s Business Bay

The latest addition to Dubai’s expanding Business Bay area - the O-14 Tower – has recently been drawing international interest, due to its unique design in the context of its surrounding area. The tower, designed by architects Reiser and Umemotos comprises 300,000 sq ft of space over twenty-two stories and is located along the extension of Dubai Creek, occupying a prominent location on the waterfront esplanade. The project originally broke ground in February 2007, and as of September 2008 the first nine floors and exterior shell have been cast, revealing the beginnings of the perforated concrete shell exoskeleton.

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.”

John Edwards

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