Dubai down but not out

alessandro zoppini
Tuesday 24 Mar 2009

As the recession digs its claws into Dubai, architects refuse to concede as designs continue

Stories of the mass abandonment of Dubai, lack of investment and a general depression in the once buzzing architectural centre have been rife in the international press of late. But it would seem that architects are not yet prepared to let go of their playground yet as this latest design shows.

There is one difference though - this design attempts to shed off the common association of distinctive with outrageous to create a more sophisticated building, perhaps a sign of a new era for Dubai?

"Our design for the Burj Dubai Residential Tower aims to create a distinctive building in Dubai to become an icon," says Alessandro Zoppini of the building's designers, studio zoppini associati. "We have proposed therefore something which refuses the usual fashion of twisting and torting volumes without any meaning or reason: the building volume is very simple and its layout is generated by the need to maximize the views to the New Burj Dubai Tower."

Zoppini believes the design also creates a closer expression to the local architectural culture. The greatest interpretation of this appears through the adaptable steel sun shading device which both provides sun protection as well as reinterpreting in a very modern way the traditional Arab sunshade.

The building has a very simple structural system: a central core concrete structure which provides for lateral stability and an external steel diamond structure allowing a completely flexible floor plate which can be easily adaptable to all tenants needs.

The 65 storey building has communal facilities and sky gardens at various intermediate floors which facilitate natural ventilation. Al flats have a private terrace. The architect hopes that the integrated sustainable design approach to the residential tower, which follows a five-step process to achieve a building that balances energy and water efficiency with superior thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort, will provide a road map to achieving a high LEED certification.

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