A target of ambitious investors and architects, Dubai has already proved to
the world that it can build the world’s tallest building, create islands in the sea
visible from outer space, and make snow in the desert. In such a sophisticated
environment we chose a simple structure as the new icon of Dubai. Simple in
human scale, yet unexampled in exaggerated size. The monumentality of the
architecture is not visible from miles, yet it is still present through representing
for the Emirate a contradiction well sought after.
The Sparkle & Shade of Dubai
The architectural theme of the icon we present is the play of light, and the
embodiment of a contradiction with a simple formula. A swarm of elements,
the modular steel tube stack is a true 3-dimensional structure; as light
penetrates meter by meter, sense of depth is reinterpreted.
Viewed from the exterior, the sun is reflected in Sparkles of light, ever in a
swarming motion. The scale and power of this superstructure point toward the
future, and as daylight changes and the structure is illuminated from different
angles, new faces of shape are revealed to the city, which itself is
dynamically evolving with every second. Contrarily, the ambient within –
induced by light softly sifting through the shading structure – is one of
tranquility, evoking the atmosphere of traditional souks.
The building sinks into the earth and history of the country by an incision into
the landscape, forming a place of shelter distant from the commerce driven
pace of 21st century Dubai
The icon consists of 2 main parts, a substructure and a superstructure:
– the “basin” is a negative podium, recessed into the ground (-2 DMD). It
serves as a sanctuary, separated from the metropolis by the difference
in level. Lacking visual contact to the surroundings, a more intimate
ambient is resulted.
– towering above is the 80 meter high structure, offering spectacular
views of the city from the top and a 360 degree tour of the surroundings
via the spiral walkway.
Perched at the very top, the high-class Café is a prominent architectural
feature noticeable from far, as well as from inside suspended high above the
heads of visitors.
The main functional units are organized around the basin, which is well
separated contrary to its central role – the only connections are the bending
entrance corridors. These secluded units are supplied with light and fresh air
from respective patios. Situated here are:
– conference area suitable for 100 guests, dividable by mobile walls into 3
separate parts. Serviced with own storage and lavatory area.
– children’s library, with shelves and reading area, suitable for group
activities. Serviced with own storage and lavatory area.
– private parking area, accessible only by staff and employees
Additionally a Café is located separately, on the top floor as mentioned
above. Here visitors can sit with their favorite cup and enjoy views of the
unmatched skyline, growing more exciting every day.
Public access is through a single entrance, compromised of a glass class
cube serving as ticket kiosk and the way down to the basin from park level.
Staff may access the premises through the private underground parking, to
the separated service elevator or directly to the basin as well.
Once visitors are inside the recessed level forum, the above mentioned main
functions are accessible via slits in the circumferential walls. A core of
elevators / safety stairs are located on the south-eastern side. From here
visitors are transported to the top of the superstructure, where the viewing
point café and viewing terrace are located, providing spectacular sights of
not only the surroundings, but also back down into the heart of the icon.
A spiral walkway is also found here, starting from the top and winding all the
way down on the outer circumference of the structure, an experience not to
be left out! But visiting the Sparkle & Shade of Dubai is not all about
movement: part of the experience is taking a minute to relax in the climate
cool of the water well situated in the heart of the basin.
The substructure is a reinforced concrete box, incorporating the functions of
the negative podium, at the same time serving as the foundation for the
The superstructure is constructed of steel tubes, connected in a modular 3
dimensional network, allowing for partial pre-assembly. The individual steel
tubes are fixed to each other via shackle type connectors, similar to those
used in scaffolding systems.
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