A twenty-two story tall commercial tower perched on a two-storey podium, is slated to break ground during the first week of December 2006 in the heart of Business Bay in Dubai. The building comprises 300,000 square feet and is a collaboration between RUR Architecture of New York and developer Shabah Lutfi. The building, O-14, will be located along the extension of Dubai Creek, occupying a prominent location on the waterfront esplanade. The design for O-14 is for a tower sheathed in a forty centimeter-thick concrete shell perforated by over 1,000 openings that create a lace-like effect on the building’s façade.
The shell is not only the structure of the building, it acts as a sunscreen open to light, air, and views. The openings on the shell modulate depending on structural requirements, views, sun exposure, and luminosity. A space nearly one meter deep between the shell and the main enclosure creates a so-called “chimney effect,” a phenomenon whereby hot air has room to rise and effectively cools the surface of the glass windows behind the perforated shell. This passive solar technique essentially contributes to a natural component to the cooling system for O-14, thus reducing energy consumption and costs, just one of many innovative aspects of the building’s design.
Jesse Reiser and Nanako Umemoto, the principals of RUR Architecture, credit the developer Shabah Lutfi for encouraging their experimental design approach to O-14, and refer to their relationship with him as a “unique collaboration.” “Shabah Lutfi is one of those rare figures, a developer who has a real appreciation and enthusiasm for innovative architecture,” the architects explain. “Our working relationship with him is close, as he has maintained a daily dialogue with us over every detail of the work for what promises to be a truly unprecedented project for Dubai.”
The concrete shell of O-14 also provides an efficient structure that frees the core from the burden of lateral forces and creates highly efficient, column-free open spaces in the building’s interior. Each floor of O-14 has been already been sold to future tenants who can arrange the flexible floor space according to their individual needs.