Urban Context In the urban growth of Dubai ‘the tower’ has come to represent the ‘centre’ of the city. The taller the tower, the more central the location. The search for defining the ‘centre’ of Dubai has led to taller and taller towers, until today Dubai’s Down Town is defined by the tallest tower in the world, The Burj Dubai. However, as the towers have reached greater and great heights the spaces inside become more and more exclusive. Today only the elite, the V-V-VIP can experience these focal points of the city; these so called ‘city centres’. Defining the centre of Dubai What is the quality of a city with out quality public space? How can the ‘centre’ be defined if the ‘centre’ is inaccessible? The Plaza Dubai is conceived as a response to the privatization of public space in Dubai. It offers a completely open, completely democratic venue for Dubai’s inhabitants and visitors and as such forms a new centre point for the city. It is situated on one of the most prime pieces of land between the Emirates Towers and the Dubai International Financial Centre. 5000 Seat Amphitheatre The 20,000 m2 of public space provided within Plaza Dubai is on a par with the great public spaces of the world; Tianmen Square, Trafalgar Square, St Peter's Square, La Defense & Red Square. The 160m diameter Plaza Dubai forms an amphitheatre that can seat 5,000 spectators. A permanent stage area allows for the staging of performances, shows & speaking events. Solar Powered Shade Structure Owing to the intensity of sunshine prevalent through the summer months in Dubai it was necessary to consider a large scale shading structure to protect the plaza. The shade structure is formed by a space truss in the shape of the crescent moon. This subtle reference to the local Islamic culture it can be viewed by the inhabitants of the surrounding buildings. The space truss shade structure is perpetually oriented towards the sun so as to maximise shade across the site. This movement is achieved by mounting the entire structure on roller tracks. The relatively slow movement of the shade structure (a quarter revolution in 12 hours) requires a low power solar electric drive and thus avoids the need far cabling and electrified track. Seasonal Reflection Lake The size of the plaza means that for much of the day and most of the year it will have a relatively low occupancy for its size. Thus for much if this time the plaza is filled with water. This forms a giant reflecting lake for the city, casting viewer’s eyes up to the surrounding buildings and to the stars at night. The water is sourced directly from the ground (the water table in Dubai is approximately 2m below the ground surface and is perpetually replenished from the sea). Future Development We are currently in discussions with the client regarding the detailed design and construction of a new plaza for Dubai. Over the comming months it is hoped that the project will be refined in greater detail such that further progress can shown at the forthcomming World Architecture Festival.