THR350

Hong Kong / PRC

They claim an attention all their own: enigmatic, tall, almost identical office buildings - one 36 storeys high
the other 30 storeys - obsidian megaliths left over from before the time the sands overtook the UAE peninsu
la. But these are too sleek for a Palaeolithic origin. Although they are like no other Muslim building anywhere,
their shapes are redolent of classical Islamic form: the pointed arch, the systematic detailing of the external
glass cladding. It is what their architect Andrew Bromberg of Aedas describes as a case of 'playing into Islamic
moves without being too literal.'
There are overtly Islamic elements in the rich patterning in the complicated screens along the boulevard.
Emaar Road, which serve as elevations for the six parking floors behind above the ground and first floor shopping podium which anticipate attracting customers from the nearby Dubai Mall and the Burj Kalifa, the tallest building in the world, just across the road. These are the only decorative elements on this heroically austere site. The semi-private podium roof is a paved granite plaza. The glazing patterns on the long sides of the two buildings are random stripes of darker glazing dropping down from the apex of the long elevations. They are in fact an element in the unitised glazing system fixed proud of the main glazing and incorporating a reflective blue film while the main glass has a reflective neutral film. Both the relief and glass allow for significant solar gain reduction which reduces mechanical cooling loads.
The pointed arches are ambiguous.
Because they are unitised curtain walling attached to the steel and concrete floor structure - not the stone which is essential to the structural nature of the pointed arch. That is underlined by the way the curving walls do not meet at the top.
What on first sight seems to be simple powerful, logical forms turn out to be a rather more complex working out of Bromberg preoccupations with approximation, with deliberate non-alignment and with symbolic ambiguity. These two buildings could also be thought of as great, cavernous barns lit front and back through clear glass walls. Yet the cladding of the main walls is also glass which despite its dark layered strips and its modestly reflective surface, which from certain angles renders them a very dark colour, is actually the primary source of light for the offices.

Client

Emaar Properties PJSC

Involvement

Design and Project Architect

Completion year

2011

Gross area

62,927 sq m

Designer

Andrew Bromberg of Aedas

Awards

Perspective Awards 2012

Certificate of Excellence, Architecture (Professional) International Architecture

Arabian Property Awards 2011

5 Star, Best Office Architecture, Dubai

Cityscape Awards Real Estate MENA 2011

Winner, Built Commercial, Office & Retail Project
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