In progress: 0-14 tower by Reiser + Umemoto

Architect: Jesse Reiser + Nanako Umemoto
Location: , 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,
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.

Cite: Baraona Pohl, Ethel. "In progress: 0-14 tower by Reiser + Umemoto" 15 May 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • Bo

    This is very economic solution.
    It’s need minimum quantity of used materials (concrete, steel).
    i think idea was taken from this:

    about master:

    PS sorry for my english (^-^)

  • Balkan

    only interesting is to see how these holes are actually made!

  • Leo

    Interesting form, but I fear this building will be dated and look ridiculous very soon…

  • JJ

    I’d like to know how the pattern was developed. Anybody know?

  • arch critic

    I wonder if they are really proud of this or if they are just paying the bills.

  • laur_n

    another ridiculous tower in dubai, though i love the photo showing all the skin’s rebar pre-pour.

  • sd

    I feel like i shouldn’t like it, but I do. It would be cool to work in there. Plus, the form-work photos are rad.

  • JJ

    Leo – if every project is a product of its time, how can anything not, at some point, look “dated?”

  • middle

    I asking what is economic here? Conctruction with cast concrete is one of the expensive ones. What is left is one 100xtimes seen pattern..

  • bungalabungala

    to arch critic, i happen to know, that this building was explicetly comissioned to reiser, after a a building of his made the final cut in a competition won by zaha, so my guess is they really like his work.

  • TW

    JJ,I think what Leo meant is

    The building certainly has a new/interesting look but it does not have any timeless or humain qualities that would appeal to people regardless of time. I think it is a result of the lack of investigation of the physical sensuality in its process & materialization.

    Firms like MAD, Greg Lynn or Ali Rahim’s projects all have the same issue.

    I also get a feelling that the building could be interesting for a certain period of time but it will go out of fashion really quickly like graphic design.

  • JJ

    sd – I’m on your side, my initial reaction was to dismiss it based on the image (like most of the comments on this site), but the more I read about it, the more I like it. The skin serves multiple purposes: structure, solar control, spatial so, though complicated, I’d argue the project is somewhat intriguing. At very least, it’s more infinitely more interesting than the majority of slop being built in Dubai. As for “timelessness,” that’s a silly argument to make in my judgement – good luck to all of you striving to create a building that is “timeless,” you are sure to create some pretty banal architecture.

  • TW

    Well the quality of ‘timelessness’ became soooooo rare in architecture now, so it won’t be a valid comment to the any of contemporary buildings. Actually, there are very few architects who succeeded imbueing the quality into a building – Louis Kahn, Peter Zumthor, or some Herzog & de Meuron projects. (it is not something you can see in the photo on the web, you gotta go and feel in person)

    It is at the highest level one can achieve in the art of architecture. I guess 90% of architects of our time are not even dare to try it but indulging in visual aspects of architecture. or Maybe it has been like that through out history.

    As long as we don’t lose our five senses and spiritual aspect in ourselve, the ‘sensuality’ and ‘timelessness’ of architecture will be the most valued thing in this field.

  • thiago

    i think that for a building become “timeless” it must not be noted at all… it has to be another one condo that makes any difference in the city, have no presence, just like these millions that we all see everywhere.. they are timeless, because they never got their “15 minutes” at least…
    also, I am pretty against this kind of building… I believe that meaning must be something that “touches” people, and bring their attention, so, a building must speak… at least until someone speak louder, or wiser…

  • http://- rule

    what are they putting into the oval openings before putting the concrete,what material is it(the white material in picture three)??
    i like the look, its brave to make such facade!congrats on the idea

  • yes

    yes, I also congratulate on their experiments combining Toyo Ito’s Mikimoto Facade on the Herzog de Meuron’s Cottbus Library Plan – It is very creative.

  • patentpolice

    This is a 21st century Melnikov House. Like Zaha, seems influenced by Soviet constructivist architecture. I’d be curious if Reiser/Umumoto would fess up to the striking similarity here.

  • JJ

    TW – I completely agree – there are a few architects that can attain a certain quality in their works that many describe as “timeless.” Kahn would be at the top of my list as well. I guess what I’m arguing is that we cannot dismiss every building as not having potential for “timelessness” because, as we all know, there are few architects who can or will ever attain this quality – some may strive for this but I don’t think they should dismiss others who embrace their “time” in architecture. Think of all of the great works of architecture that are easily identifiable with a particular place in history – Pompidou comes to mind right away. Projects like that, while not touching on some primitive or base qualities of building that seem to be present in the works that you mention, are still valid, interesting and necessary in advancing the field of architecture. I’d argue that they merely go about this in a different manner but are no less important.

    All this to say, while I don’t find this project particularly groundbreaking, I don’t think it’s fair to judge it based on whether or not it will be dated after a few years.

  • yes

    It just look like
    the Urban Hive Tower in Seoul designed by Archium

    The same multi-purpose concrete skin… just with different oepning shape this time. oval. not circles.

  • Terry Glenn Phipps

    What does it matter if this building takes it references from Melnikov, Archium, Edward Durell Stone, or Popeye? How is it remotely possible to judge a priori what is going to be “timeless” or even what on Earth the concept of timelessness means and/or implies? Is Lever House less of a landmark because Gordon Bunschaft had seen Mies? Was the International Style unimportant because the Wendingen edition of the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright influenced everyone? Was Jefferson a dunce because Palladio was inspired by Vitruvius? Is de Kooning a hack because Van Gogh got really gestural first? Which is better vanilla or chocolate?

    This is an interesting building set upon its own little island in the middle of a giant lake filled with crap. Also, it responds to a desert environment and actually makes visual sense in a very sunny place. Finally, this is an organic form as opposed to the stressed trapezoidal excremental blobs that issue from the Hadid and Lynn school of “practice”.

    One thing that strikes me as very possible using this darned-clever technique is its modularization. I am fascinated by the prefabrication techniques that were developed by the H.B. Zachry company in the the late 1960′s. It seems to me that by engineering an interlocking system of bearing facade elements somewhat along the lines of this tower’s technique, it would be possible to devise an easily replicable and interesting construction system (like Wright’s knit block for towers). This system would offer the advantages of tremendous efficiency and nearly infinite variability for interior spaces.

    My intuition is that this building represents much more than a passing fad, it may well be the start of something genuinely interesting.

    Terry Glenn Phipps

  • o+c

    Everyone proposing other project that this has been ‘stolen’ or ‘copied’ from needs to reevaluate their architectural eye.
    Just because you aren’t used to seeing forms of this type built, doesn’t mean they are all the same.
    Someone of you are even proposing that completely different topological conditions are the same?

    ArchDaily is fantastic, but the ArchDaily comments are some of the most uninteresting and poorly articulated thoughts available on the web. All these comments are simply useless noise, and my comment here is just one more for the steaming pile.
    I can’t wait for the ignore feature!

  • kc

    the melnikov comparisons doesn’t fit at all besides a minor aesthetic similarity (completely different structurally) but the urban hive tower is surprisingly similar.

    if anyone hasn’t seen it this vid is worth a look:
    makes me appreciate the design alot more after hearing reiser talk about how the design is inspired by islamic ornamentation and cooling methods; assuming the chimney effect that he talks about really works i think it’s a pretty innovative design

  • kc

    forgot to mention it starts at 2:30

  • francis

    To waste a bit of ArchDaily’s page … I wondered if we are charged for every word we enter here, do we think that we would be so flippantly trigger happy? The many contributors to this site made great efforts (some lack of) in allowing us a taste of their work without the need for us to source, trace, and … it is free-of-charge! Least we should have the grace to reciprocate, no? Unfortunately, we may have to put it down to “free-speech”.
    I digress … the joys of architecture is both about the banal and the necessities – the concept and the facts – they are intertwine. Their equilibrium is a place is where Architecture should be most pleasant. This building seem in balance, well thought out, executed, presented and explained. I have learned from it, plus from some of the comments left here. This approach of building drive me towards awareness of better designs and technology. It is now in my overcrowded “to-visit” list. Thanks to the construction photos and explanations, I won’t have to spend too much time analysing and should begin to enjoy it when I visit. The seeming random light-holes, functional skin structure are already looking quite sensational, internally and externally. It seems to deliver what is promised.
    A parting question – what measures are in place for keeping the glass clean externally (between the skins)? It is not a major issue (nothing a squidgy & bucket, steps, ropes and rock-climber can’t fix) and I wholly appreciate the “trade-off” advantages.

  • trimtab21

    All you have to do is look at the buildings next door to realize how daring this design is – literally thinking outside the box. The critics seem to just like to demonstrate their vocabulary knowledge and don’t really have much to say.

  • francis

    Ahhhh yes (the commenter I mean) but no when you compare this with the Urban Hive tower. Similar yes but not the same, no. Curved walls and irregular holes in this case yield a better result, and thus more importantly, yes/no? Do you know if that is an exoskeleton structure and whether it has the duality in function/performance? Yes, nothing is new, and I often defy people that tells me so. I believe nearly all things we see, use, or come into contact with is always a variant – an alternative expression of a theme. With the exception of just a few things that can be counted on two hands (if that) given the length of time we’ve existed.
    It’s not necessary to compare (but thanks for the heads up) as Terry has mentioned. Don’t wake up and think someone has to reinvent the wheel; though plenty of clients would want us to for their measly fees. I believe that the comparison will never stop … there are more interesting to do with our time. Inevitably someone will surely suggests another similar.

    Note to self: MUST GET OUT MORE.

  • fl!p

    jj, the design was derived from traditional muslim patterns, commonly used as sunshades..

    rule, the material used for the openings was styrofoam. they can easily remove it by smashing (with a hammer) after the concrete cured..

  • http://- rule

    thank you very much

  • http://- rule

    thank you ver much fl!p,best regards

  • fl!p

    thanks. no problem rule.