Pixel, the latest project from Dutch firm MVRDV, is now under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. The community based mixed-used development is the first project in Abu Dhabi’s Makers District, an innovative and cosmopolitan new area, on the Reem Island.
The 85,000-square-metre project generates apartments, shops, offices, and amenities around a dynamic public plaza. The main concept encourages a new living approach for the Emirates, promoting outdoor living and a communal lifestyle, diverging from the generic ideas of single and disconnected buildings, a dominant typology in the region’s skyline. In fact, this new vision is possible because, according to Jacob van Rijs, MVRDV founding partner, “the weather in Abu Dhabi is very pleasant for about eight months of the year, yet most housing there doesn’t really encourage people to spend time outside”.
“With Pixel, we wanted to show that a connection with the outdoors is not only possible in this city but beneficial. The values of Makers District – creativity, learning, and sharing – are all at their core about people. So our design creates outdoor spaces with the pedestrian plaza and ‘pixel’ balconies to encourage a sense of community spirit, enabling this social and creative atmosphere.” -- Jacob van Rijs, MVRDV founding partner.
The project comprises of a central public space element, surrounded by seven compact mid-rise towers of varying heights for optimized views and shading. Pixel, as its name implies, has a design inspired by cubic components that can create multiple compositions and flexible interior layouts. In fact, these modules produce, balconies and bay windows, shaded by ceramic shimmering screens, on the facades facing the plaza, to enable the communication between the tenants, the outdoor and the people in the public open space. The central plaza is part of “The Artery”, a continuous pedestrian public space through Makers District connecting Pixel to the nearby beach. It engenders a vibrant atmosphere, encouraging people to live on the lower levels.
The design generates a wider superficial impact on the lower levels of the towers to accommodate offices, retail, shops, restaurants, etc. The development creates 525 apartments of varying sizes, ranging from studios to spacious three-bedroom homes. The configuration welcomes diversity and allows the creation of an inclusive community through the addition of adjacent expensive units and affordable spaces. The interior design will also be created by MVRDV.
Principal in charge: Jacob van Rijs
Director: Stefan de Koning
Design Team: Edina Peli, Ronald Hoogeveen, Mariya Gyaurova, Akshey Krishna Venkatesh, Kristin Schaefer, Katarzyna Nowak, Kevin Loftus, Luca Vacchini, Mirco Facchinelli, Meng Yang, Katarzyna Plonka and Ole Allin Egebaek
Visualization: Antonio Luca Coco, Paolo Mossa Idra, Costanza Cuccato, Davide Calabro, Pavlos Ventouris, Kirill Emelianov, Tomaso Maria Maschietti, Massimiliano Marzoli and Giovanni Coni
Strategy & Development: Willeke Vester
Co-Architects: Dewan Architects + Engineers
Engineering and Project Management: Ramboll Middle East and Asia
Cost Control: Turner & Townsend
Landscape and public realm design: Bjarke Ingels Group: BIG
Artist: Nicole Martens Main contractor: CNTC