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An ITP Business Publication

JUNE 2012 / VOLUME 06 / ISSUE 06

NEWS, DATA, ANALYSIS AND STRATEGIC INSIGHTS FOR ARCHITECTS IN THE GCC
BUILDING FOCUS
Discovering Goettsch Partners
Sowwah Square in Abu Dhabi

INTERVIEW
GAJs Graeme Fisher discusses
his move to GEMS Education

MEA gets submerged in DOTs audacious designs for


an underwater hotel off the coast of Dubai

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JUNE | CONTENTS

JUNE 2012 VOLUME 6 ISSUE 06


4

FRONT

This months top stories


including the unveiling of
new leisure projects in Dubai

12
THE BIG PICTURE
Lester Ali captures the
overlooked entrance area of
the Aldar HQ in Abu Dhabi

6
PROJECTS
A round up of the latest
project news from MENA
and the rest of the world

14
ANALYSIS

18

INTERVIEW

GAJ partner Graeme Fisher


on his client-side switch to
GEMS Education

Experts at World
EcoConstruct discuss
Dubais eco credentials

24

BUILDING FOCUS

34

FEATURE
The recent trends and
challenges in regional
material specication

MEA visits Sowwah Square,


the heart of Abu Dhabis new
commercial business ditrict

40

CASE STUDIES

52

THE WORK

A detailed reference section


covering the projects MEA
has featured recently

56
LAST WORD

Perkins Eastmans Saadiyat


hotel, Dubais underwater
resort and the Titanic Belfast

54

CULTURE
Cool products, clever ideas,
and some of the latest gadgets
in the design world

Phil Dalglish, director for


Buro Happold, on his rms
regional experience

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

FRONT | JUNE

1979
Inauguration
n
s
of GAJs
e
Dubai College
(page 18))

DUBAI UNVEILS NEW


LEISURE SCHEMES
Underwater hotel, Palm Jumeirah and JBR projects offer signs of positivity

341

Two major leisure projects were announced for Dubai, while another will
be completed this year, giving hope to
the emirates architects and construction professionals.
Nakheel announced a new waterside residential and leisure project for
Palm Jumeirah called Palm Views,
while an audacious underwater hotel
was revealed.
A statement released by Nakheel
said its project Palm Views East
and West will be a collection of 192
pied--terre style contemporary

Ocean View Hotel,


JBR walk.

ROOMS IN OCEAN
VIEW HOTEL

units and retail, dining


and tness facilities, all
offering panoramic views
of Palm Jumeirah and the
Dubai skyline.
Construction will begin by the end
of 2012, with completion due by the
end of Q1 2014.
Meanwhile, the shipbuilding arm
of Dubai World has announced plans
to build a series of underwater hotels
in the emirate.
In a statement released, Drydocks
World said it has signed an agreement

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

with a Swiss contractor


to develop the World
Discus Hotel.
According to Drydocks
World, BIG InvestConsult will
provide the required technological
expertise for the unusual concept.
One of the emirates leisure projects
to be completed this year is Jebel Ali
International Hotels 4-star Ocean
View Hotel on Dubais JBR Walk.
It will be the only 4-star property
on JBR Walk, containing 341 rooms
and suites.

JUNE | FRONT

FOUR

3,000
Aluminium
shards in Titanic
Belfast (page 48)

Office towers in
Sowwah Square
(page 24)

DESIGNMENA.COM

Aedas named largest


practice on the planet

Winners of Middle East Design


Competition announced
TDIC starts handover of Saadiyat

available in the two emirates as well


as the wider Gulf region.
The other top 10 rms in WA100
were Aecom, Gensler, IBI Group,
Nikken Sekkei, Foster & Partners,
DP Architects, P&T Architects &
Engineers, Samoo Architects & Engineers and HDR Architecture.

design students
Breakfast club doubles in size
Dubais Princess Tower wins Guinness
World Record

WEIRD PROJECT OF THE MONTH

DATASTREAM
QATAR TOWERS

(DATA FROM CTBUH)

17

12

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

BUILDINGS OVER 300M

as well as IM Peis Rock and Roll


Hall of Fame and Museum (pictured) in Cleveland, Ohio, came in at
second and tenth place respectively.
A controversial scheme in Toronto, Canada - Sharp Centre for Design
by Alsop Architects with Robbie,
Young and Wright Architects - took
third place in the list.
Meanwhile, the distinctive Trump
Tower in New York, developed by
Donald Trump and designed by Studio 505, was judged to be the worlds
eighth ugliest building.
No buildings from the Middle East
were deemed ugly enough to appear
in the list.

A practice in Thailand has proposed a habitable water city to help a ood-stricken town in
the Asian country. Designed by Supermachine
Studio, the city would be built on the sides of a
150m-high reservoir capable of managing 1,500
million m3 of water.

BUILDINGS OVER 200M

Image: Getty

IM Peis museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

25 essential iPad apps for interior

Aedas designed U-Bora Tower, Dubai.

Website chooses worlds top


ten ugliest buildings
Travel website Trippy.com published
a list of the worlds ugliest buildings,
according to its staff and users.
The winning building was the
brutalist 1975 FBI headquarters in
Washington DC by Charles F Murphy and Associates.
Denys Lasduns Grade II* listed
Royal National Theatre in London,

Beach Villas

BUILDINGS OVER 150M

Aedas won the accolade of Worlds


Largest Practice after three years in
the number two spot in the WA 100
(World Architecture annual survey).
The recognition comes as a result
of strong growth in Asia for the
company, where turnover increased
by a quarter, surpassing the previous
years 15% rise.
Virtually all of the 364 architects
who joined the practice this year are
working in China, with a handful
based in Singapore.
While staff numbers have shrunk
in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, chairmain
Keith Griffiths said its continuing
presence is a sign that work is still

FRONT | JUNE

60 SECOND INTERVIEW
PEOPLE

MENA boss hailed


Best Woman

Tony Archibold becomes design director.

RMJM director joins


Bluehaus Group
Tony Archibold, former associate director,
RMJM Architects, has moved to Bluehaus
Group as design director.
Archibold worked in his previous role for
four-and-a-half years delivering projects
such as Capital Gate Tower in Abu Dhabi,
Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre,
Muscat, and Europes 450m tallest tower
in Istanbul, which he designed and won as
part of a competition team.
In his new role, he will be expanding
the interior design side of the business and
developing its architectural services across
the Middle East. He will also be working
alongside the companys new MEP division.
Archibold will work with 30 people including eight engineers in the MEP division
at the rms offices in Tecom, Dubai. The
division recently moved from the Gold &
Diamond Park.

We should be using the


lessons learnt from
Estidama to establish
a consistent base level
across the UAE that
raises the minimum
standards.
Dr Rob Cooke,
associate, Buro
Happold, discusses
sustainability in the
UAE

RW Armstrongs Mona Salem picked up


the award for MENA Best Woman in the
Corporate Sector from job site AmCham.
The MENA Women Awards recognise
individuals in the non-prot and corporate
sectors, with the inaugural awards taking
place on 10th May in Tunis.
Salem, vice president and head of MENA
operations, said: I am truly honoured to
receive this award and am very proud to
be recognised among such an outstanding
group of nominees.
The award belongs to my family and
team and conrms RW Armstrongs commitment to valuing its people and encouraging greatness in the workplace.
In 2011, Salem was ranked number 34
in Construction Weeks Power 100, a collection of the most inuential people in the
GCC construction industry.

MARK SCAIFE, ASSOCIATE,


ACOUSTICS, WSP ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY (ME)

What are the common


mistakes in acoustic design?
Employing the acoustician
too late or not for the entire
design and construction, so
that they are prevented from
adding their true value. Misunderstanding the difference
between common acoustic
ratings (Rw and DnTw) for
materials is also common and
nsive
can lead to expensive
mistakes.

Are there any


recent trends or
innovations?
Acoustics is
becoming more
important to
e
developers in the
Middle East and
ed
d
this is being picked
ouss
up in the numerous
odes
d
Green Building codes
c a
as EstiE i
around the Gulf such
dama and QSAS.

What are the most problem


atic building types in terms of
acoustics?
Schools are of particular
interest because studies have
shown that schools located in
areas of high noise levels have
students that suffer long term
learning impairment. Therefore,
without proper consideration
to acoustics, we could be impacting future generations.
Mona Salem wins corporate award.

Sharing knowledge with


international
companies
and building
up support is
something that
has to be done in
a developing
city.
Eng. Hani
A.Kayal, COO
HALJ

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

A vast knowledge of
material speci
cication is a
ge
vital advantage
to propose
n
alternatives in
case of lack of
ong
availability, long
lead times or value

engineering.
Reza Kiamanesh,,
Lecturer, IAU
University, Dubaii

Working with TECHNAL took the stress out of finding


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FRONT | JUNE

MENA PROJECT SNAPSHOT


1

1
DUBAI

2
ABU DHABI

3
QATAR

Princess Tower claims


Guinness World Record

TDIC starts handover of


Saadiyat Beach Villas

Crescent tower in Lusail


inspired by Qatari swords

Guinness World Records has officially recognised Tameers 414m-high


Princess Tower in Dubai Marina as
the worlds tallest residential building. The 107-storey tower occupies
3,476m2, with 763 luxury apartments
and eight retail stores.The dome and
decorative mast, made of aluminium
and steel, weight a total of 110 tonnes.
It forms part of the tallest city block in
the world, along with SOMs Innity
Tower and the 90-storey 23 Marina.

Tourism Development & Investment


Company (TDIC), master developer
of Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi, announced
the start of handover of Saadiyat
Beach Villas. The rst phase of the
development, which consists of 254
villas, was launched in 2009 and
completely sold out. A second batch
of 90 villas was released in November
2011 to meet demand, and handover
of both phases is set to be completed
by the fourth quarter of 2012.

Plans have been unveiled for a


crescent-shaped building in Lusail,
inspired by the two curved swords
in the emblem of Qatar. The project
Lusail Marina Iconic Development
was unveiled by Qatar-based Katara
Hospitality, and will contain 800
units including hotel rooms, apartments, offices, boutique retail and
restaurants. The ve-star complex
is aiming for completion by 2016, in
time to serve the World Cup in 2022.

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

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FRONT | JUNE

GLOBAL PROJECT SNAPSHOT


1

1
CHINA

2
USA

3
FRANCE

Beijings CCTV tower


officially completed

One World Trade Center


may not be USAs tallest

Foster + Partners to design


Roman museum

Beijing celebrated the official


completion ceremony of its famous
looped skyscraper, for China Central
Television (CCTV). Designed by
Rem Koolhaas Dutch rm OMA,
construction began in 2004. Rising
from a common platform, two towers
lean towards each other and merge in
a 75m cantilever. The faade reects
the structure: diagonals becomes
dense in areas of greater stress, and
looser in areas requiring less support.

A late change to the design of the One


World Trade Center in New York may
cost the tower its title as USAs tallest
tower. US media have reported that
the 124m needle on the top will no
longer be enclosed in a breglass and
steel enclosure, due to maintenance
issues. This means the needle may
be deemed an antenna rather than a
spire, and will not count towards the
nal height measurement previously anticipated at 541m.

UK architecture giant Foster +


Partners has revealed the rst images
of its museum for Roman artifacts
in the city of Narbonne, southern
France, a former Roman port with
several archaeological sites. The rm
is working with museum designer
Adrien Gardere following success
in an international competition.
The centrepiece of the museum is a
collection of more than 1,000 ancient
funerary blocks excavated nearby.

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

FRONT | JUNE

THE BIG PICTURE

Aldar Headquarters
One of the most distinctive buildings
in the region, the circular form of the
Aldar Headquarters has been an Abu
Dhabi landmark for several years. This
image, by ITP staff photographer Lester Ali, focuses on the entrance details,
with its looped canopy and landscaping. Designed by MZ Architects, it is
the rst circular building of its kind in
the Middle East, achieved through the
use of a structural diagrid.

10

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

JUNE | FRONT

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

11

NEWS ANALYSIS | SUSTAINABILITY

DIFC was hailed


as one of the
sustainable hubs
in Dubai.

BALANCING ACT
ANALYSIS

A panel discussion at the World EcoConstruct seminars discussed whether


UAE has moved towards sustainable architecture. Devina Divecha reports

he word sustainability
has been bandied about
in the world of architecture and construction to
saturation point. In the worst of cases,
it is merely used to sound relevant in
todays world; countless projects list
reams of sustainability credentials in
a hope to keep up with competitors.

12

A panel discussion held at


Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2012, as part of
the World EcoConstruct seminars,
discussed whether architecture can
make a difference towards sustainable building practices.
Its panelists also examined the role
of design and architecture in delivering sustainable buildings, and using

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

design principles in the construction


process to meet its challenges.
Sherif Anis, regional director,
CBT Architects, and secretary, AIA
Middle East, said at this point in time,
architecture is a function of the dayto-day design process. We talk about
sustainability and treat it as though
it were a parallel discipline; but in

SUSTAINABILITY | NEWS ANALYSIS

fact, its now becoming a much more


integral process, as it should be. If its
not, then youre probably approaching
your project from the wrong way.
This sentiment was echoed by Kyle
Krall, senior principal, Thornton Tomasetti, UAE, who said if architects
dont take advantage of sustainable
building practices, then its simply
bad architecture.
He pointed out LEED raised the
bar and posed questions on whether
graded buildings are better for the environment. Drawing comparison with
emission controls on cars in the USA
in the 1960s-80s, Krall said a similar
situation occurred with sustainable
building: when LEED was created, it
gradually became adopted by governments. LEED and its adoption by
governments are forcing buildings to

raise the bar; buildings are going to


get better and better, he added.
Krall noted one of the problems in
this process is an owner who doesnt
want to spend money for a better
structure. He stressed, however, being sustainable doesnt always mean
one has to spend more money.
Anis said LEED Gold and similar
requirements should be the baseline,
not the goal. Its only a starting point.
We should be getting better, and we
can get better. To demystify what
sustainable practice in architecture
is: its really just common and good
building practice.
Anis believes that pre-crisis, many
projects were not designed sustainably. Back then, its almost as though
many buildings were just designed for
design competitions. Half the time I
wondered whether a rendering won
the project there was no thought
given to the building, its placement,
its materials, height and width. And
in the end, that creates a really bad
scenario for our built environment,
and it makes it harder and harder to
really create sustainably.
Comparisons were drawn between
Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and both emirates commitment to the green cause.
I think its evident going around
Dubai that its a wonderful city in a
lot of respects, but in terms of being
a sustainable city, its got a long, long
way to go. It really needs patchwork to
x a lot of mistakes, added Anis.
To focus on getting the project done
correctly, Krall said owners should be
encouraged to participate in the design process with the structural and
mechanical engineers, architects and
designers. While the design process
will be longer, the resulting building

will ultimately be better due to the


right questions being asked earlier
on in the project rather than a few
months into construction.
Anis said he felt Abu Dhabi always
had a different outlook from the start,
and is building sustainably and responsibly. He said the capital is thinking more about the environment,
culture and the economy whereas
Dubai didnt really put those at the
top of the list.
Krall stressed the rush to build has
died down, and people are starting to
realise its about educating the owner
and the community about the responsibility to make buildings that are
mindful of the environment. Theres
some fantastic architecture out there
thats sustainable, pushing the limits
and educating others.
An important development in Abu
Dhabi in recent years is Estidama
and its Pearl rating system (PRS).
Krall said construction professionals
should be encouraged to go aboveand-beyond the minimum Estidama
requirements.
Focusing on Dubai, Krall added
that while there was a building rush in

Sherif Anis
and Kyle Krall
at World
EcoConstruct.

LEED and its adoption by governments is forcing


buildings to raise the bar; buildings are going to get
better and better.
Sherif Anis, CBT Architects

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

13

NEWS ANALYSIS | SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainabilty
should be an
integral process
of architecture.

Dubai, a positive turn is coming with


moves to make it more sustainable,
including concepts like retro-tting.
There are still some issues that need
to be addressed, however.
The one thing that drives me crazy
where I live is why arent we recycling
all our trash? I live in Jumeirah
Beach Residences, and there is no
place for me to conveniently collect
the trash. That should be the next
focus for Dubai, Krall said.
In addition to this, cultural sensitivities and image are factors that
have to be taken into consideration.
Obviously image sells. When you y
into Dubai on Emirates and they roll
the lm when youre landing thats
what theyre selling, said Krall.
A component related to image is
iconic architecture, a term which
has been used generously in Dubai
for over a decade. Anis said he steers
away from using the term, as it has
been overplayed and used in almost
every contest in the earlier part of
the century. I dont see it anymore,
which is probably a good thing. But
I think if we were to look at whats
dotting the skyline in terms of iconic

architecture, youll know what those


buildings are, he added.
Krall said: The word iconic is
not being used anymore because it
doesnt mean anything here. It just
used to mean the craziest building
that is recognised.

DIFC is a hub; it becomes sustainable on its own. Abu


Dhabi is starting to develop those type of places. Im
excited to see what will come out of Sowwah Square.
Kyle Krall, Thornton Tomasetti

14

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

I think a lot of successful projects


that people consider iconic are really
just a design to attract attention and
done by an interesting architectural
rm. However, its nice to see those
kinds of things here, because it denitely puts Dubai on the map in terms
of a world-class status, said Anis.
Iconic architecture doesnt always
translate into sustainability, or userfriendliness. Anis said while Dubai
is not a very walkable city compared
to Abu Dhabi, there are still some
examples of sustainable and public
spaces, which exude vibrancy.

COMMENT | EDITORS LETTER

THE LIFE AQUATIC


EDITORS LETTER

An underwater hotel is planned but will the idea oat?

GOT A
COMMENT?
If you have any
comments to
make on this
months issue,
please e-mail
oliver.
ephgrave
@itp.com

or those of us that have


lived in Dubai for a few
years, this months unveiling of an underwater
hotel in the emirate was accompanied by a strong sense of dj vu.
Back in 2006, a design was revealed for a hotel called Hydropolis,
that would have been the worlds rst
underwater luxury resort.
It was to be submerged 20m
beneath the surface just off Jumeirah
Beach and original costs for construction were around $435m.
But like many grandiose schemes
conceived in the boom, the Hydropolis project was washed away in the
tide of the credit crunch.
Now, several years later, the
shipbuilding arm of Dubai World,
Drydocks World, announced it has
signed an agreement with a Swiss
contractor to develop an underwater
hotel in the emirate.
While the Hydropolis felt like
something from a comic book, the
newly-unveiled Water Discus Hotel
seems more appealing and architectural, with a modernist meets spaceage aesthetic.
I would hazard a guess that the
design inuences include Oscar
Niemeyers saucer-like art gallery in
Rio de Janeiro and the Enterprise
from Star Trek.

Dubais hotel
under the sea.

Yet the question on most peoples


lips will be: is this a real project?
Certainly, the conviction of the press
release would make you believe its
not pie in the sky (or sea).
Cynics should take note of the
Maldives Rangali Island resort,
which contains an underwater section built in 2010.
Admittedly, this is just a single
room - a luxurious honeymoon
suite - but its existence shows that it
is technically, and perhaps economically, feasible to sleep with the
shes, as a movie gangster might say.
However, the backers of the
scheme must surely realise that the
crystal clear view of aquatic life, as
depicted in the renderings, may be
tough to replicate in Dubai waters.
Anyone that has ever scuba dived

Possible design inuences include Oscar Niemeyers saucerlike art gallery and the Enterprise from Star Trek.

16

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

in the emirate will know that the


visibility can be decidedly poor,
particularly in the areas that have
been dredged.
One of the big challenges will be
nding a location that is suitable this was one of the key issues with
Hydropolis, in addition to several
other problems.
In December 2008, Crescent
Hydropolis CEO Uwe Hohmann
told Construction Week that a
new location must be found, as the
original spot, to the west of the Palm
Jumeirah, was deemed unsuitable
due to new construction.
It was proven that the original location was not ideal. At the time that
this location was discussed there
was no Jumeirah Beach Residence
in place. A project like Hydropolis
needs to have the right location,
commented Hohmann.
The backers of the latest underwater hotel in Dubai should be wary
that a sh-view room might lose a lot
of its appeal if you cant see any sh.

INTERVIEW | GRAEME FISHER

NEW
SCHOOL
THE INTERVIEW

Oliver Ephgrave meets GAJ partner Graeme Fisher, who is set for a client-side switch
with his recent appointment as head of design and infrastructure for GEMS Education

areer switches can be a


daunting prospect but
Graeme Fisher is relishing his forthcoming shift
from designer to developer. Although
Fishers new role as head of design
and infrastructure for GEMS Education will see him move away from the
drawing board, the 41-year-old GAJ
partner believes his design skills will
be put to good use.
Obviously I love design and
architecture - that is still my rst love.
But having spent such a long time in
practice there are certain things that
an architect can bring to the development table, he remarks while sitting
in a glass-walled meeting room in
GAJs Barsha office.
He points out that a client-side
switch has been on his mind since
university. Id always had a desire to
move into development at some point.
I nd it fascinating - I think its just as
creative as design in many respects.
Donald Trump calls it the art of the
deal and I think its very much an art
form. Youre identifying the opportunity. bringing in the consultants, the
nancial companies and ultimately
delivering the building.

As head of GAJs education group,


Fisher grew into the position due to
his specialist education experience.
He explains: When I rst left university in 1995 I moved over to Brunei
for a couple of years. The main project
I did was the rst international school
in Jerudong. That really gave me an
initial interest in education design.
I moved back to London in 1997 and
started working for Sheppard Robson
where I spent nine years and my
primary focus was on schools.
When I moved to GAJ in 2006,
the company was more hospitality
biased. However, GAJ already had
a great education portfolio, including the sequential development of
Dubai College. Last year we decided,
with the new focus in the country on
infrastructure projects, to really go
for winning school work.
Fisher reveals that GAJ is working
on two GEMS schools in Qatar which
are starting on site and due to open
in 2013, as well as a school in Abu
Dhabi. More recently, the rm picked
up three school projects in Dubai.
This is a great Dubai story for me.
The schools are being built because of
market research - people need them

desperately. We are all gunning for


Dubai, Fisher remarks.
He continues: The growth and
success of GAJs education team this
year will denitely continue - there is
a great team now. It will be headed by
David Green and the school sub-sets
will be led by Jason Burnside. If there
is a good time to leave it is now.
Ive got a huge amount to be
thankful for, particularly to Brian
Johnson who made me a partner
within a year. The great thing is that
GEMS is a client of the practice, and
there is no reason to think that that
relationship wont continue.
Fisher explains more about his
new role on the client side. GEMS is
already the worlds largest operator of
schools and has very big global expansion plans. My role is head of design
and infrastructure and that is based
in Dubai at the HQ, but my remit is
to help with the global growth. Ill be
the custodian of design and Ill have
to develop relations with consultants
across the world. I will also be responsible for the successful delivery
of GEM projects.
When asked about his school design ethos, he replies: I tend to turn

I nd development fascinating - I think its just as creative as


design in many respects. Donald Trump calls it the art of the
deal and I think its very much an art form.

18

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

GRAEME FISHER | INTERVIEW

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

19

INTERVIEW | GRAEME FISHER

Fisher has been


actively involved
in education
design since
1997.

20

to corporate headquarters to look at


how they deal with staff attainment
and staff performance. Its about the
quality of the space, the areas for interaction and facilities. They all have
a massive impact on staff attainment.
If you are providing a similar
space for a school, then you will see
a reduction in absenteeism and the
level of teaching is naturally going to
be enhanced. Its not going to provide
everything but it is a backbone.
When it comes to the common
design mistakes made in Middle East
schools, he says: There is sometimes
too much emphasis on elements that
are just gloss. They arent really going
to affect the quality of teaching.
Theres no doubt that with fee
paying schools you need to provide
something that is going to entice the
clients, i.e. parents, such as great
sports facilities and a great auditorium. But if youre spending all
your money there and sacricing the
teaching spaces, then there is a bit of a
question mark.
It will take a bit of time to get the
balance right. However, its great to
see organisations like GEMS, ADEC
and others taking a leading role in
looking at contemporary teaching
and education spaces.
Fisher points out that schools are
far from static projects. Of course we
dont always get things right the rst
time. Its vital to have lessons learnt
workshops after a project has been
operation for a year or so. Certainly
in my experience, teachers have a lot
of things to comment on - they are the
people we need to listen to the most.
Its important that we leave a
certain amount of exibility, for
instance, to be able to double the size
of classroom space efficiently and
economically. We need to ensure
there is an ability to expand either
horizontally or vertically, unless its a
tight site. A lot of schools are phased
programmes anyway.
For Fisher, Dubai College, designed by GAJ, is still the benchmark

for regional schools. I refer to it when


Im in meetings with GEMS. Its not
brand spanking new - some of the
buildings are 20-years-old - but it has
a lovely feel to it. There are clusters of
classroom spaces and so many people
feel at home there. Its almost the antithesis of the commercial HQ. I think
getting a mix of the two is the challenge. Also the auditorium is amazing
- it is the best in the country.
Another reason for its success, according to Fisher, is its use of external
circulation. He continues: I am a big
advocator of using external circulation space as much as possible to
reduce air conditioning load. Yes, of
course it gets hot, but this climate is
far more appropriate for people being
outside for longer periods of the year
than it is in the UK. Plus schools dont
operate in the height of summer.
When it comes to other benchmark
regional projects, Fisher highlights
Education City in Qatar. The work
by the likes of Allies & Morrison and
Henning Larsen in particular is phe-

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

nomenal. It is more higher education


but it is very responsive and responsible education work - you know that
it is part of this region.
At the same time it is producing
fantastic levels of teaching and learning spaces. It is a brilliant focus for
this region. I was blown away. We can
learn a lot of lessons from it.
Fisher continually expresses his
passion for education, and the twinkle
in his eyes suggests he genuinely
wants to make a positive impact in his
new role at GEMS.
For me, education design, paticularly schools, is the most interesting
type of design because it throws up
such a range of possibilities. Theres
a blend between different ages and
cultures. Its a really fascinating sector to be in.
We all want to make a difference.
An architect is lucky enough to make
a physical difference, but to apply that
skill-set to something that makes a
genuine difference is something Ive
always wanted to do.

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PORTFOLIO
GRAEME FISHER
FISHER
INTERVIEW || GRAEME

PORTFOLIO:
Graeme Fisher

CENTRE FOR ENGINEERING &


MANUFACTURING EXCELLENCE, LONDON
Fisher worked on this scheme when at the UKs
Sheppard Robson. Completed in 2003, CEME is
a 12,000m2 hub of education, enterprise and
manufacture for east London, a agship
project for the Heart of Thames
Gateway regeneration scheme.
It is the rst purpose built

SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND

campus in the country.

MANAGEMENT, SHARJAH
This recently completed facility for
the American University of Sharjah
(AUS), designed by GAJ, houses
lecture rooms, seminar rooms,
faculty and public spaces facing
onto three courtyards to provide
natural daylight to the interior of
the building. The external envelope
has been designed to blend with
the adjacent AUS buildings while
the interiors are open and modern.

22

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

GRAEME
GRAEME FISHER
FISHER || PORTFOLIO
INTERVIEW

BRADENTON ACADEMY
One of the rst co-education schools approved
by KHDA, Bradenton Academy provides a
rigorous and comprehensive American university
preparatory curriculum from pre-kindergarten
to grade 12. Completed in 2009, GAJs design
features vibrant colours and courtyards that
draw inspiration from regional architecture.

JERUDONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, BRUNEI

DUBAI COLLEGE

As a 24-year old architect, Fishers rst foray in education design was the

GAJ has been involved with the continuing growth of

International School built in Brunei in 1997. Located in Jerudong, it was

the college since its inauguration in 1979. The latest

conceived as a through school, providing facilities from kindergarten

phase of development, completed in 2009, includes a

through to sixth form, with a total of 1,250 students.

hyper-modern 900-seat auditorium.


SCHOOL IN QATAR

GAJs ongoing project in Qatar includes a multi-purpose indoor sports hall, library, art spaces
and various specialist labs. It uses a conceptual street as the heart of the school where students
interact and congregate, as well as circulate to various activities. The street opens onto the
football pitch and outdoor spaces, enabling a strong link between indoors and outdoors.

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

23

SITE VISIT | SOWWAH SQUARE

The new HQ
for the Abu
Dhabi Securities
Exchange at
Sowwah Square.

290,000M2
AREA OF

OFFICE SPACE

CROWN JEWEL
Devina Divecha visits Sowwah Square, the heart of Abu Dhabis
new commercial business district

24

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

SITE VISIT | SOWWAH SQUARE

dusty morning does


nothing to dampen the
commanding nature of
Sowwah Square, the
quadruple-tower centrepiece of Abu
Dhabis new commercial business
district and headquarters for the Abu
Dhabi Securities Exchange.
Steven Nilles, partner, and Matthew Berglund, associate, of project
architect Goettsch Partners sit in
the ethereal atrium of Tower One,
with Nilles sipping on a hot coffee as
he dives into the particulars of the
scheme in the UAE capital.
With headquarters in Chicago,
a branch office in Shanghai and
now another in Sowwah Square,
Goettsch Partners won the project in
an international design competition
in 2007, for client Mubadala Real
Estate and Hospitality. There was
a requirement to deliver an iconic
stock exchange building but also to
surround that with very efficient and
Class A international standard office
buildings, says Nilles. The scheme
contains over 290,000m2 of office
space and also incorporates two levels
of retail and two parking structures
to the north and south of the square.
He comments on how the rm kept
in mind the stock exchange, in terms
of its programmatic requirement
needed to be a four-storey building.
We decided to really create something very special at the plaza level,
adds Nilles.
To do this, Nilles and his team
looked at opportunities for core supportive buildings, a concept which has
been emphasised in architecture over
the last many years.
He explains: Everybody seems
to be fascinated and focused on the
tower at the top; we are also fascinated and focused on the base of the
building. Its the spaces in between
the spaces that I think are very special
on this project.
A landscaped plaza connects the
four buildings, ranging from 31-37
storeys in height, and the exchange.

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

25

SITE VISIT | SOWWAH SQUARE

Four offi ce
buildings range
from 31-37
storeys in height.

Glass-enclosed, with a roof the


size of a football eld, the
stock exchange building
rises 27m above a water
2
feature on four massive granite piers. The
PVS ON ROOF
piers house the stairs,
mechanical risers and
service elements.
All the columns have been
transferred to open up the entrances
and the lobby, and also to elevate the
exchange building on four legs. Nilles
reects that in projects Goettsch
Partners designed recently, all
focused in different ways on creating an urban environment, with no
transition between the interior and
exterior space.
He proudly says the lobbies in the
four office towers are dramatic, because of the glass non-reective cable
wall enclosure that functions like
an exterior space. Due to the glass,
visitors to the buildings cannot feel
the division between outside and in,
and the core supportive design lends
to the lobbies feeling more open than
they actually are.
These are not tall buildings; if you
compare this to Dubai, theyre nothing. Theyre background buildings in
some respects. But yet this composition of office towers really creates a
setting for the exchange building and
Cantilevered glass screen walls
thats really the crown jewel of the
have been installed that buffer the
project, says Nilles.
building from the exposures. On
Designing the stock exchange led
the surrounding towers, motorised
to various challenges. The building is
shades follow the sun angle in the
oriented in an East-West direction,
form of active sunscreens.
which is not ideal for solar exposure.
A double-wall faade has been creThe team came up with ideas to
design the building in a cross-orienta- ated in the buildings to create a form
of thermal control. All structures
tion that is solar-effective.

2,550M

Everybody seems to be fascinated and focused on the


tower at the top; we are also fascinated and focused on
the base of the building. Its the spaces in between the
spaces that I think are very special on this project.
Steven Nilles, Goettsch Partners

26

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

need to have a certain percentage


of outside air entering inside for air
pressure, and for every cubic foot of
air coming in, a similar amount has to
be thrown out. Instead of throwing
the air out like every other building
in the world, we actually throw it into
that cavity to create a thermal pillow
and then extract the air. So you take
the exhaust air, you create a thermal
buffer within the cavity, which is all
sealed and then you extract it. That
picks up the heat, so its a thermal
control. These walls are cool as a cucumber, says Nilles enthusiastically.
Another challenge was being selective about materials. The environment in this region is incredibly

FOAMGLAS Insulation

Ventilated Facade

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Client Al-Futtaim Group


Architect Cox Crone Architects
Construction 2003 2007
Application of FOAMGLAS behind stone cladding
facade 8000 m2

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behind the stone cladding because of the unique property of being fully resistant to any
kind of water and vapour and therefore can be applied on the wall structure without any
additional protection against the high humidity. No additional foil for vapour protection
is required trough the closed cell structure of the material FOAMGLAS itself. Result is the
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SITE VISIT | SOWWAH SQUARE

Making
the square
pedestrianfriendly was a
priority.

28

corrosive. The humidity, the heat, the


sun, the temperature and the dust
and condensation that forms on the
outside of the building will turn even
normal stainless steel into mush,
Nilles says emphatically.
He says there is no substitution for
glass, and even with detailing stone
architects need to be careful. He
warns against curvilinear buildings
as its easier to notice dust on such
structures. A prime example is the
armadillo-shaped transit stations
in Dubai. Youre better off going
straight. Once you start curving, its
almost like your eye just knows its
dirty, he says.
Sustainability is high on the
agenda; Sowwah Square is the rst
project in Abu Dhabi to be precertied LEED-CS Gold. In addition
to the double-skin faade and the
thermal controls, the roof of the exchange building contains 2,550m2 of
photovoltaic panels to capture solar
energy. The design also incorporates
condensation collection from cooling
coils to supply the water feature as
well as providing irrigation.
The project did not apply for LEED
Platinum because of the point of
diminishing returns, according to its

architects. When you get to LEED


Platinum in this instance, theres a
point of diminishing returns. You can
keep dialling in things but its going to
cost a lot of money, explains Nilles.
Every project has got its potential.
Every project that Goettsch Partners
designs is not only environmentally
sustainable, but is economically sustainable, adds Nilles.
He adds that the rm creates a value-driven solution, where the project
turns out to make money as well. At
the end of the day, we gure out whats
best for our client and whats best for
the project, and whats economically
viable, Nilles says.
Berglund chimes in and says while
architects can meet and exceed metrics on the LEED scorecard, there
are some pointers such as occupant
comfort that do not show up in the
rating system, but will be reected in
the users' attitude to the space.
Al Shamsi claried the project also
follows the Estidama Pearl Rating
System for Abu Dhabi.
Another eco-friendly feature of the
buildings is what Nilles refers to as
tech-zone lighting systems. All of
the light xtures in the square can be
controlled with a Building Management System (BMS). Possessing
daylight sensors, they can dim down
or light up automatically.
As Nilles and Berglund walk
around the development, the stock

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

exchange building stands in prominence despite being shorter than the


surrounding office towers.
Berglund comments: One thing
that came to mind is that its put in
a context before there even was a
context. It went rst and everything
was built around it.
Sowwah Squares architecture
is complemented by the creations
of American landscape architect
Martha Schwartz. This, added to the
core supportive building style, lends
to the square being more pedestrianfriendly. Berglund said in Dubai, the
typical situation is that buildings have
a podium with a tower on top, which is
a complete block for pedestrians.
Theres no pedestrian experience
whatsoever, but here youre essentially on top of that podium since
the island is on a raised level and the
pedestrians have space.
Everything is engineered; it
looks so simple but its not. Its very
involved, says Nilles.
A pool will soon appear under the
stock exchange building, which Nilles
refers to proudly as a jewel box. It
will feature blue pearl granite and
oating electronic lily pads. The latter
are light xtures of 15 different sizes
and are tethered to random spots
around the pool.
The ceiling is made of a textured,
patterned, non-reective laminated
glass that will provide a soft glow at

SITE VISIT | SOWWAH SQUARE

It is the rst
project in Abu
Dhabi to be precerti ed LEEDCS Gold.

We looked at a lot
of different options,
but really, if you just
envision this thing as
a big loaf of bread on
four legs, it doesnt
look so good.
Steven Nilles,
Goettsch Partners

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

29

SITE VISIT | SOWWAH SQUARE

The sloped
edges of the
building create a
sense of drama.

30

all times of the day. I think its going


to be quite dramatic, says Nilles,
looking over the ongoing construction
of the pool. The construction is slated
to nish in a couple of months.
The journey from the lobby to the
stock exchange area is made via a
glass elevator. As the elevator goes up,
the surrounding islands come into
view. A lot of nancial districts shut
down at 5pm, but thats not what were
doing in Abu Dhabi, says Nilles as
the oors whizz past.
The interior of the stock exchange
is luxurious yet functional, and it
comes as a surprise to see the room is
circular, bearing in mind the external
shell is a rectangle. Gensler worked on
the interior, with Goettsch Partners
responsible for the core-and-shell.
The whole concept of a circle within
a rectilinear form was something we
all worked together on as the common
point to the geometry of the grid.

Nilles then compares the ceiling


to a skylight. The curve on the top is
always fascinating to see. Again, you
can build all the models and do all
the renderings in the world but until
you create a space like that, you dont
know what youve got.
The sloped oors seem more
impressive from inside the building.
Nilles says he prefers them to some of
the views at the top, because it feels
like one can have an interaction with
the people in the plaza. We looked
at a lot of different options, but really,

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

if you just envision this thing as a big


loaf of bread on four legs, it doesnt
look so good, he adds.
As a light drizzle falls from the
skies, Nilles becomes nostalgic and
talks about the rst visit to the site
ve years ago. When we started this
it was just a strip of sand. There was
absolutely nothing out here all we
saw was a desert fox and cat missing
half its ear. We had to create our own
context within the framework of the
masterplan, and thats what we did.
Its not going to feel like an island.

SETTING THE BENCHMARK


FOR THE REGIONS
ARCHITECTURE INDUSTRY

TUESDAY 23RD
OCTOBER, 2012
THE WESTIN, DUBAI

For sponsorship enquiries please contact:

The 5th annual Middle


East Architect Awards are
an opportunity for the
industry to come together
for one night to toast
exceptional performance
in architecture,
engineering & design.

Yazan Rahman
Sales Director, Construction Group
Tel: +971 4 444 3351
Email: yazan.rahman@itp.com

NOMINATION DEADLINE:
THURSDAY 23rd AUGUST 2012

Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Andrew Parkes
Advertising Director, Construction Group
Tel: +971 4 444 3570
Email: andrew.parkes@itp.com
For nomination enquiries please contact:
Oliver Ephgrave
Editor
Tel: +971 4 444 3303
Email: oliver.ephgrave@itp.com
For table bookings and further information please contact:
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Events Manager
Tel: +971 4 444 3328
Email: michelle.meyrick@itp.com

Category Sponsor

To submit your nominations, or for more information, please visit:

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SITE VISIT | SOWWAH SQUARE

SOWWAH SQUARE
Technical drawings supplied by Goettsch Partners

FLOOR PLANS
The solid building masses
at the ground oor are limited
to the elevator and stair
enclosures and the structural
centre core. As a result, the site
is visually open, and both the
open exterior space and glassenclosed lobbies are shaded by
the offices oors above.

WEST ELEVATION
The west elevation shows
the Stock Exchange building
raised ve oors above the
podium level and supported
on four massive structural
columns that contain the MEP
risers, service elevators and the
exit stairs. To make the Stock
Exchange building even more
monumental, the horizontal
surface of the podium under the
Exchange is lowered 11m to a
reecting pool at natural grade.

32

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

SITE VISIT | SOWWAH SQUARE

SECTION
This section cuts through the centre of the
project at the east-west axis. Here the south
elevation of Tower 4 shows the sloped structural
transfer of the perimeter columns into the centre
core, giving the building mass a simple elegance
and recognisable form that would not have been
achieved with a more conventional structural
concept. The expression of the tower core is
emphasised by the difference in the building
enclosure. The core element is enclosed with a
double glass wall utilising return air to temper
the air between the glass walls and reduce the
overall heat gain.

EAST ELEVATION
The east and west exposures
of the Tower 3 and 4 facades
are shaded with horizontal
glass louvers that respond to
the suns rays by rotating and
shading the direct rays as the
sun moves around the buildings.

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

33

FEATURE | SPECIFICATION

MATERIAL
WORLD
Oliver Ephgrave speaks to regional experts on the
challenges and recent trends for material specification
in the Middle East

he GCC's abundance of
sunlight might be a blessing for barbecue lovers
and beachcombers, but for
the region's architects it is a constant
challenge. One of the major considerations is the specication of appropriate materials that can withstand the
extreme heat and humidity.
Tarek Qaddumi, principal for
UAE-based TNQ Architectural &
Engineering Consultants, remarks:
Extreme heat is always top of mind
for architects and engineers in the
GCC. This translates into choosing high performing materials with
strong heat insulation qualities, and
heat resistant materials which will
maintain their integrity throughout
their intended lifetime.
Unfortunately sometimes we see
a specication of natural materials
with low tolerance to heat, humidity
and strong sunlight.
Qaddumi suggests the industry
should be more proactive in nding
ways to beat the heat. He continues:
I think the weather has been a
strong reason for a very conservative approach to the exploration of

34

alternative materials. I would highly encourage exploring


the viability of different materials to expand the pool of
tried and tested products. But equally, I would encourage
such endeavours to proceed with caution, research and
experimentation under actual conditions.
Most technological advancements in the eld of construction have been geared to serve colder climates, while
I think hotter climates have just as much need for research
in the eld. Over the next few years, we at TNQ intend
to explore different systems as we've already started in
several of our projects.
Another consideration for speciers is the distance from
building materials manufacturers. Most materials are not
manufactured locally, he continues. Shipping materials across large distances has its environmental impact.
Availability of samples locally for physical inspection and
readily available stock for delivery on site at short notice
are also missed because of these distances.
For this reason Qaddumi states that regional
speciers are more inclined to work with
reputable traders who come prepared with
samples and carry a fair amount of stock
rather than those that depend entirely on
HIGHEST RECORDED
orders to import material.
TEMPERATURE IN
He says his rm is not averse to specifying
DUBAI
local materials, adding: I have no concerns
over specifying locally - the products are fairly
competitive in price and quality. The concern stems
from products that are imported from less than dependable sources.

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

49C

The weather is
one of the major
concerns for
specifiers in the
Middle East.

FEATURE | SPECIFICATION

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

35

FEATURE | SPECIFICATION

Sumaya
Dabbagh,
principal,
Dabbagh
Architects.

Sumaya Dabbagh, principal at


Dubai-based Dabbagh Architects,
is not convinced by the quality of all
local products but states they should
be considered for sustainability. She
says: The quality of materials that
are manufactured locally varies.
Some adhere to international standards, whereas others do not.
When it comes to the common
mistakes made by architects when
specifying, Dabbagh points to a lack
of research and thorough understanding of materials.
She opines: It is vital that the
material is well understood and its
performance is evaluated based on
standards and tests done by the manufacturer in order to select the right
material that would give the required
performance. This study of materials
before including them in specications is sometimes lacking amongst

consultants due to time constraints


during the design stage.
Dabbagh adds that sometimes materials are incorrectly applied. Even
good quality materials, if not used in
the correct way, can be problematic.
For instance, certain porous stone
may be excellent as wall cladding but
the same material can perform poorly
when used as ooring. These oversights can easily be avoided through
more careful study and trials through
mock-ups, prior to using the material
in a real project.
She continues: Some external
cladding materials rely on frequent
rainfall for cleaning. Deposits of dust
and oils from the atmosphere can
cause certain materials to deteriorate. Most manufacturers test the materials before they launch the product
and problems appear if materials are
exposed to conditions different from
those in which they were tested under. This is where architects must pay
attention to the technical specication of each material.
Qaddumi states that Middle East
architects have a watered down role
in specication compared to other
markets. With a few exceptions,
the reality is that architects are not
generally paid to produce coordinated construction documents and
to perform the QS and particular
specication scope as required. In the
Middle East, what is known as nal
design is the equivalent to the US
design development stage.
He says that his own rm is pushing
to change this trend but is encountering client resistance. We've been
advocates for changing this reality
and often pushing our own design
scope beyond our commission. How-

I think it would be very beneficial if consultants would


share experiences or lessons learned with regards to
material specifications."
Sumaya Dabbagh, Dabbagh Architects

36

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

ever we've noticed that most clients


understand the status quo and accept
that as a market standard.
Usually, the client is happy
with the existing model, because
they maintain a certain degree of
exibility as far as selection. It also
allows them to involve the contractor - the common perception is that
the contractor has a deeper physical
engagement with the construction
industry and, therefore, an inherent
control over the schedule and nal
cost of a project.
Qaddumi continues: The choice of
materials then becomes a pseudodemocratic process where the architect argues performance, quality and

FEATURE | SPECIFICATION

advocate, and implement ourselves, is that the architect


chooses every material and species every
source, brand, make
and model; produces
FORMATION DATE OF
coordinated construcTNQ
tion documents based on
these choices; prepares or
supervises the preparation of
accurate cost estimates on this basis;
and follows the construction on site
with much greater clarity.
He continues: The architect can
then be held more responsible for
ensuring quality, schedule and cost.
Should there be a reason for revisions
or value engineering, these can be
treated systematically as a standalone exercise.
Qaddumi states that clients are
wary of over-specication. Given
UAE, we need to create more forums
the importance of the economic
for discussion amongst consultants
viability and sustainability of such
and suppliers.
large investments, a developer wants
When asked whether there are
to know that they are not overspendany recent trends in specication,
ing on materials that a better design
Qaddumi replies: Besides a movecould have at least mitigated. They
ment towards specifying more green
also want to know that they are not
materials, the only other trend I'm
overspending on performance that is
aware of in recent weeks is the aunot necessary, given the development
thorities mandating non-ammable
targets, or buying an overly resilient
aluminium composite panels followmaterial that is several times more
ing several res in the UAE because
expensive than an alternative that
requires replacing once during the
of non-re rated counterparts that
have been an industry standard in the
lifetime of a building.
GCC for years.
Another client concern is overspending for the sake of installing
Dabbagh also points to the move
towards more sustainable products.
a particular brand that is equal to a
I would say the recent trends are the
generic alternative. Once a client is
specications of environmentallyassured of all of these things, other
friendly products such as recycled
costs can be appreciated as an investmaterials that contribute to a reduced
ment in reducing future running
carbon footprint; materials that
costs and resources. The investment
are free from VOCs and products
in good materials should, therefore,
that reduce energy consumption
make as much sense to the investor as
of buildings. Such materials are
it would to the architect.
becoming more relevant in increasing
Dabbagh calls for more collaborathe awareness about the benets of
tion and knowledge-sharing in the
industry. It would be very benecial
green buildings. This is the only way
if consultants would share experiforward if our built environment in
this region is to become sustainable,
ences or lessons learnt with regards
she concludes.
to material specications. In the

2005

aesthetic (or doesn't), the contractor


argues cost and delivery times and
the client has the third vote. This is
ne for as long as the contractor is
responsible for the overall design
and coordination from the moment
they're on board, as is the case in the
French delivery model.
The situation in the Middle East,
according to Qaddumi, is that the
coordination is a grey area during
the construction process, as the
contractor is making choices and the
architect is approving partial shop
drawings and material submissions.
Instead, he advocates the architect
taking the leading role, as in the US
market model. The approach we

www.designmena.com | 06.12
05.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

Tarek Qaddumi,
principal, TNQ.

37

PARKHYATT
HYATTABU
ABUDHABI
DHABI | CASE STUDY
PARK

THE PROJECT
The rst hotel project to be
completed on Abu Dhabis Saadiyat Island, as well as the rst Park
Hyatt-branded property in the
UAE capital, the Park Hyatt
Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas
opened its doors in November 2011. Designed
by Perkins Eastman,
TOTAL NUMBER
the 306-key 45,000m2
OF KEYS
resort is oriented with
views to the Arabian Sea,
along with private villas that
line a boardwalk and private beach.
The energy-efficient design meets
LEED Certied standards.

306

40

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

CASE STUDY | PARK HYATT ABU DHABI

PARK HYATT
ABU DHABI

Architect: Perkins Eastman


Location: Abu Dhabi
CASE STUDY

THE SITE
Developed by Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH), the hotel
is located on Saadiyat Beach, a
ve-mile stretch of protected white
sand beach. The resort was designed
to respond to its site, which includes
a protected sea turtle habitat, sand
dunes and coastline. Saadiyat Beach
is located on the islands northwest
coast, and will feature several vestar hotels including the now open
St. Regis, as well as a pending Rotana
resort and Shangri-La hotel. In the
future, the resorts will support visitors to the high-pro le museums in
the nearby Cultural District.

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

41

PARK HYATT ABU DHABI | CASE STUDY

THE CONCEPT
According to Shawn Basler,
principal in charge of the project at
Perkins Eastman, Park Hyatt Abu
Dhabi combines the pleasures of
an urban resort with the ambience

of island living and luxury. It tries


to blur the indoors and the outdoors
with large terraces, covered outdoor
areas and views of the sea. The nature of the site was key to the design

THE DETAILS
The resort was designed
to achieved LEED Certi2
ed standards in order
to adhere to the green
TOTAL AREA OF
requirements of the
THE RESORT
Saadiyat masterplan
by developer Tourism
Development & Investment Company (TDIC).
One of the eco measures included
the protection of the extensive sea
turtle habitat and dunes. In addition,
the project used local and recycled
materials wherever possible, as well
as solar panels for heating water, and
grey water irrigation to help offset
maintenance for the neighbouring
golf course.

45,000M

42

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

and the feeling of the resort, both in


the architecture and the organisation of spaces. The architects tried
to capture the essence of being in the
desert, surrounded by the sea.

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5TH NOVEMBER 2012
THE WESTIN, ABU DHABI

This one day forum brings the whole spectrum of


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together for an open discussion alongside
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WATER DISCUS HOTEL | CASE STUDY

THE CONCEPT
This daring concept for an underwater hotel was conceived by Polish
company Deep Ocean Technology (DOT). Last month, Drydocks
World, the shipbuilding arm of
Dubai World, signed a deal to become the exclusive main contractor
for the hotel concept in the Middle
East. Named Water Discus Hotel,
the design envisages an 'ultimate
leisure facility' with a structure that
is partly above water and the rest
submerged underneath.

44

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

Concept designer: Deep Ocean Technology


Location: Worldwide
CASE STUDY

THE PROJECT
The main disc and adjacent satellites
on the upper section are located
ve to seven metres above the water
surface. These discs include a restaurant, spa and a rooftop area with
seawater swimming pools and training pools for divers. The underwater
section is located up to 10m beneath
the surface and each disc is composed of 21 hotel rooms. A wide shaft
with a view of the sky gives a sense of
spaciousness, and helps to counter a
feeling of claustrophobia.

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

45

CASE STUDY | WATER DISCUS HOTEL

WATER
DISCUS
HOTEL

WATER DISCUS HOTEL | CASE STUDY

THE SITE

21

DOT claims the


NUMBER OF
Water Discus
HOTEL ROOMS IN
Hotel can be built
EACH DISC
anywhere in the
world and tailored
to suit the location. If
any changes in environmental
conditions occur, the various modules can be transferred to a different
site. This mobility is said to enable
straightforward changes to interior
design, as any disc can be detached
and replaced. The structure sits on
three solid legs xed to the seabed
while the upper disc is suspended
above the water surface. A vertical
shaft contains a lift and stairway.

THE DETAILS
A number of individual modules
can be used to build a hotel complex
of minimum 2000m2 which can be
further extended with additional
modules (1000 - 1500m2 each).
According to DOT, the building
remains safe even in the event of a
tsunami due to its sturdy structural
design. Safety measures include an
earthquake and weather warning
system and remotely operated underwater vehicles. The underwater
disc automatically surfaces in the
event of any danger. Even if ooded,
each satellite disc has positive buoyancy and can be used as lifesaving
vessels after detachment.

46

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

TITANIC BELFAST | CASE STUDY

TITANIC BELFAST
Concept design: CivicArts/Eric R Kuhne & Associates
Lead consultant: Todd Architects
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
CASE STUDY

48

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

CASE STUDY | TITANIC BELFAST

THE PROJECT

10,000

This $140m cultural


PIECES IN THE
REPLICA
scheme is a strikingly
STAIRCASE
modern homage to the
Titanic, located on the
site where the ill-fated ship was
designed and built. It is the worlds
largest ever Titanic-themed visitor
attraction and Northern Irelands
largest tourism project. Its six-oors
feature nine galleries documenting
the Titanic, as well as the maritime
history of the city. The building
houses temporary exhibits, a 1,000seat banqueting suite, education and
community facilities, catering and
retail space and a basement car park.

THE SITE
Titanic Belfast forms part of the
$11bn Titanic Quarter development,
one of Europes largest urban waterfront regeneration schemes, which
is transforming a 75ha site on the
banks of Belfasts River Lagan into
a new mixed use maritime quarter
with a mile of water frontage. The
museum is sandwiched between
the site of the drawing office where
Titanic was designed and the River
Lagan where it rst set sail in 1912.
The 14,000m2 building took three
years to complete the same length
of time as Titanic itself.

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

49

TITANIC BELFAST | CASE STUDY

THE CONCEPT
Conceived as the centrepiece of the
quarter, the distinctive form unites
the sites various heritage elements.
Concept design was provided by
CivicArts and Eric R Kuhne &
Associates, while local Northern
Irish Todd Architects worked as lead
consultant. Sweett Group provided
programme and cost management
services. Having rst investigated
options for recreating Titanic at various scales, it was decided to create
an entirely original structure. With
its jagged silhouette, inspired by the
ship itself, the building was completed in March, in advance of the
centenary of Titanics tragic voyage
in April 2012.

THE DETAILS

3,000

The faade replicates


four 27m-high hulls and
is clad in 3,000 silver
ALUMINIUM SHARDS
anodised shards, using
IN THE FACADE
Novelis 3mm aluminium
J57S. The shimmering
effect is enhanced by reective pools of water at the base of
the structure. Its interior contains
a glass atrium and a 1,000-seater
banqueting centre, complete with
a 10,000-piece near replica of
Titanics Grand Staircase. The
entrance level includes an 18m-high
wall covered in sheet metal panels
similar in size to those used on the
ship's hull.

50

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

PROJECT UPDATE | THE WORK

FEATURE | EDUCATION DESIGN

THE
WORK
PROJECT UPDATE

THE GALLERIES

18M

HEIGHT OF
LOBBY SPACES

Architect:
Burt Hill
Location:
Downtown
Jebel Ali, Dubai

THE VERTICAL
OASIS
Architect:
Aaron Marriott
and Clarissa
Wenborn,
University of
Nottingham
Location: Abu
Dhabi

AZERENERJI
HQ

28

NUMBER OF
STOREYS IN
THE TOWER

52

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

Location: Baku,
Azerbaijan
Architect: P&T
Architects and
Engineers

As the agship project for UAE


developer Limitless, the Galleries is
a mixed-use scheme in Downtown
Jebel Ali containing Grade-A office
space, housing and retail space.
Since last month, all four towers
in the Galleries Offices Buildings
are now open, with 70% of the
800,000m2 space already leased.
Certied LEED Silver, it consists
of two groups of four buildings, separated by a landscaped plaza.

This eco tower for Abu Dhabi was


designed as part of a masters course
at the University of Nottinghams
architecture department. The project, called the Vertical Oasis, was
created by students Aaron Marriott
and Clarissa Wenborn. As suggested
by the name, the project aimed to
recreate the oasis in the sky, for a site
on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, adjacent
to the ADIA Tower.

This tower complex is the headquarters for AzerEnerji, the state


provider of power for the whole of
Azerbaijan. P&T was tasked with
producing a building that is highly
secure and functional, which also
the advanced technology used in
Azerbaijans new infrastructure grid.
The 28-storey tower is capped with a
triple-high lounge space for the company president, with views across
Baku and the Caspian Sea.

EDUCATION DESIGN | FEATURE

5,193M2
GROSS FLOOR
AREA

Architects:
AK Design/
Adel Almojil
Consulting
Engineers
Location: Dubai

MARINA MALL
Architect: HOK
Location: Lusail,
Qatar

KUWAIT
CULTURAL
CENTRE

2,500
ESTIMATED

POPULATION OF
SABAH AL-AHMAD
CITY

Architect: BDP
Location: Sabah
Al-Ahmad City,
Kuwait

ETIHAD
TOWERS

US$1BN
TOTAL VALUE OF
PROJECT

Architect:
Design by
Innovation
(DBI)
Location: Abu
Dhabi

Designed by UAE-based AK Design and Adel Almojil Consulting


Engineers, this clean-lined complex
serves as a showcase for the Xerox
brand in the Middle East. It contains
a customer showroom, offices, workshops, support centres and training facilities. The large open-plan
areas encourage transparency and
interaction between departments.
The Xerox complex was completed
in late 2011.

Designed by HOK, this futuristic


retail complex for Qatars mammoth
Lusail development contains ve
interconnected retail islands with
water running through the centre.
Smaller outlying pods will house additional retail, exhibition and entertainment space, such as a skate park
and childrens play area. It is aiming
for the top ranking in Qatars green
building index and was recently
granted planning permission.

BDP has been appointed by the


Public Authority of Housing Welfare
to design a landmark cultural centre
in Sabah Al Ahmad, a new city for
2,500 people in the Kuwaiti desert.
According to the architect, the centre
will offer an inspirational home for a
wide range of cultural activities and
includes a gallery, museum, theatre,
screening room, conference centre
and childrens theatre.

Completed in November 2011, this


mixed-use project in Abu Dhabi
comprises ve towers, plus an interconnecting podium, developed by
Sheikh Suroor Projects Department
(SSPD). It includes the 585-key
Jumeirah Etihad Towers Hotel. The
project contains three residential
buildings, housing 885 apartments, a
commercial office tower, a shopping
mall, restaurants and cafes and the
UAEs largest banqueting hall.

www.designmena.com | 06.12 | MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT

53

THE WORK | PROJECT UPDATE

XEROX
EMIRATES HQ

CULTURE | LIKE WANT NEED

LIKE
WANT
NEED

CULTURE

LIGHTING
ALVAR ALTO PENDANT LAMP
Artek
Created by Alvar Aalto in 1953,
this pendant lamp is made with white
painted aluminium, polished brass
rings or chromed rings. The lamp was
rst introduced in the interior design of
the University of Jyvskyl. Decorative
and sculptural even when unlit, this is a
true design classic.

FURNISHING
KUBE
Ego Paris
Ego Pariss latest lounger is more
than just a chaise - its an armchair,
a pouf and a coffee table. Its also
elegant, comfortable, compact and
mobile. Depending on their needs,
customers can recongure Kube to
be just about whatever they want.
This means that, rather than opting
for a selection of different outdoor
furniture items, a few Kubes may
do the job.

54

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 05.12


06.12 | www.designmena.com

LAST WORD | PHIL DALGLISH

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Phil Dalglish, director at Buro Happold, on regional


experience and renewable energy
Buro Happold has 35 years of experience in the region.
Saudi Arabia is the big market for us.

We have also been in Kuwait for many years. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are relatively
new markets for us.
Dubai is the place where everybody wants to live - it has the infrastructure
and the capacity.

Try getting a ight on Thursday night from Doha, Riyadh or Bahrain.


Working with a contractor is hard work - they need clarication.

Pressure on fees often means that some consultants, not all, will leave a lot of the
design liability and requirements with the contractor.
The Middle East is a developing market and youve got a fair amount of
specialists that are coming in and trying to do more with less.

We are not in a mature market - we have subsidies on utilities, we have the whole
idea that if we comply with LEED then we must be sustainable. Thats only the start.
Renewable energy is not feasible to do in most parts of the world.

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Let alone in the subsidised economies of the Middle East.


At the time of the crisis, we probably had 20% of work in the Middle East.

We quickly jumped up to 40% in global turnover after the slowdown.

56

MIDDLE EAST ARCHITECT | 06.12 | www.designmena.com

Published by and 2012 ITP Business


Publishing, a division of the ITP
Publishing Group Ltd. Registered in the
B.V.I. under Company number 1402846.

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