Architect: Jesse Reiser + Nanako Umemoto Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates Design Team: Mitsuhisa Matsunaga, Kutan Ayata, Jason Scroggin, Cooper Mack, Michael Overby, Roland Snooks, Michael Young Assistants & Interns: Tina Tung, Raha Talebi, Yan Wai Chu Structure: Ysrael A. Seinuk , PC, New York, NY General Contractor: Dubai Contracting Company (DCC), Dubai, UAE Client: Creekside Development Corporation, Dubai, UAE Site area: 3,195 sqm Constructed Area: 31,400 sqm Project year: 2006 Construction year: 2007-2009 Photographs: Reiser + Umemoto
O14, a 22-story tall commercial tower perched on a two-story podium, broke ground in February 2007, and comprises over 300,000 square feet of office space for the Dubai Business Bay. O-14 is located along the extension of Dubai Creek, occupying a prominent location on the waterfront esplanade. O14 is sheathed in a forty centimeter-thick concrete shell perforated by over 1,300 openings that create a lace-like effect on the building’s façade.
The concrete shell of O14 provides an efficient structural exoskeleton that frees the core from the burden of lateral forces and creates highly efficient, column-free open spaces in the building’s interior. The future tenants can arrange the flexible floor space according to their individual needs.
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. The overall pattern is not in response to a fixed program, (which in the tower typology is inherently variable), rather the pattern in its modulation of solid and void will affect the arrangement of whatever program comes to occupy the floor plates. 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 O14, thus reducing energy consumption and costs, just one of many innovative aspects of the building’s design.
The holes are achieved by introducing computer numerically cut polystyrene void forms into the rebar matrix, and sided with modular steel slip forms prior to the concrete pour. Super-liquid concrete is then cast around this fine meshwork of reinforcement and void forms resulting in an elegant perforated exterior shell.
The project has generated extraordinary international interest in the architectural press as it is among the very first innovative designs to be constructed among a sea of generic office towers that have come to be the standard in Dubai’s current building boom. O-14 was recently featured in ‘Impossible City’, an hour-long television documentary about the recent growth in Dubai, which was produced by CBS News and aired in the U.S. on the Discovery Channel in October, 2008.
Currently, the first 20 floors and exterior shell of O-14 have been cast, and the building is expected to be completed in Fall 2009.