Competition for Omniyat Properties – Area 5 District 3 A. DESIGN DESCRIPTION A1. Design Background The site is situated on the Southwestern shoreline of one of the islands in the Lagoons. It commands spectacular views across the water to other areas of the Lagoons and to the North West to the Opera House and to Dubai itself. The site is extremely prominent from other areas of the Lagoons and as such the development will provide a focus and centre piece to the overall Lagoons development. The residential buildings on the site have a maximum height of 35 storeys or 175m. The hotel development has a height of 25 storeys or 100m. The overall width of the development is over 250m. The density of development is such that the buildings could form a significant wall effect unless the designs are treated with great care. A2. The Design Metaphor Given its location immediately on the shoreline of the Lagoons development, the similarity between the Lagoons developments to that area of Iraq known as the Mesopotamia Marshlands is striking. The ongoing rescue of the Mesopotamian Marshland is coincident with the Lagoons developments. The design metaphor is thus taken from 2 features of these marshlands. The islands of the lagoons are similar to the reed beds of the marshlands whilst the gentle and elegant images of reeds bending in the wind is translated into the curve and sway of the elevations. A3. The Islands The reintroduction of water to the drained Iraqi marshlands is simultaneous with the creation of the water body of the Lagoons. As the waters of the Tigris-Euphrates Marshlands return, so will the peoples, wild life and islands of natural reed beds that once inhabited these vast areas. It is from these marsh reeds that we draw the metaphor and design theme for these buildings in the Lagoons. A4. The Reeds The tall reeds of the Mesopotamia Marshlands is used for boats, for houses, for all manner of buildings. They are a true symbol of sustainable architecture and a sustainable way of life. Images of these marshlands before their draining are symbolic of an ancient and civilized way of life. The gentle undulating movement of the reeds as they are shaken by the wind is unforgettable. The images of the gently swaying tall reed beds are the essence of the design theme we are portraying here. A5. Planning Metaphor The metaphor of the reeds is translated into built form in a very simple and direct manner. We have created apartment plans and core plans which are simple, direct and maximize the views to the South West and West. These direct effective and efficient floor plans are then gently sloped to create the effect of the reeds bending in the wind. The cores serving the residential apartments and hotels remains vertical and the bend of the apartments is taken up in a variable void space to the sides of the core. The cross wall construction maintains structural rigidity in a very simple and direct fashion. Pipe work of plumbing ducts can take up the very slight angular shifts in verticality without there being any need to transfer the risers. A6. Elevational Metaphor The external walls of the apartment towers and hotel are similarly treated in a very simple and direct fashion as a metaphor to the reeds. Balconies are placed across the entire front elevation of the apartments. These balconies provide an indoor outdoor space and a temperature modulating device from the hot southwestern sun. Half of each balcony frontage is covered with tinted frameless glazing which further protects the balcony from the hot rays of the sun whilst providing uninterrupted panoramic views from the apartment and the balconies. The gently curved glass emulates the elegant curve of reeds and softens the horizontality of the balconies into a vertical, shining element. The other half of each balcony is open with a glass balustrade to maintain continuous panoramic views. Each apartment has a projecting sun balcony. These narrow balconies thrust forward over the building to provide 270 degree views of the Lagoons. Just as reeds glisten and catch the sunlight so do these sun balconies form gently curved shining vertical lines. A7. Visual Corridors We have introduced 3 visual corridors through the towers. The main corridor is of course the central axis, the spinal axis defined by the master plan. This major visual axis is left completed unobstructed. The towers on each side undulates toward and away from this visual axis creating the illusion of a gap in the reed bed. To the North of the visual axis is yet another gap between the hotel and haute couture apartments. A8 Visual Axis On each side of the break formed by the main visual axis are food and beverage and retail outlets which open out onto small piazzas which will be shaded from the sun in the day and provide wonderful dining spots at night with views out over the Lagoons. The apartments are also broken by breezeways and a visual corridor at their centre. This alleviates the wall effect and the gentle curve of the frontage of Prêt-a-porter apartments leads the eye around to the South corner of the development. A9 Landscape The landscaping of the residential decks, podium areas, and boardwalks, continues the theme of the reed beds. The landscape radiates from the base of the towers in delicate, undulating forms. These waving, reed-like gestures are expressed as parallel rows of clipped hedges, tree lines, water courses and linear light elements. A powerful central gesture composed of bridges, water features and light elements cuts through the site and reinforces the linkage to the waterfront. The principal objectives guiding the design include introducing a clear hierarchy of open space, delineating areas of public, semi-public and private use and creating a unique character to enhance the sense of place. Emphasis has been placed on creating a contemporary landscape environment which reinforces the architecture and helps unify the built form and landscape.


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